Abraham Lincoln is considered to be one of the best presidents this country has ever had. Lincoln is one of the most important president we have ever had with abolishing slavery and creating the Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln’s Assassination was a very important event in history and a devastating time for Americans.
The events leading up to Lincoln’s assassination were very important and play a big role on to why he was actually assassinated. John Wilkes Booth is the man who assassinated Lincoln in 1865. Booth was born on May 10, 1838 in Maryland. He was born into a family of famous actors and grew up to be a well-known actor himself. John Wilkes Booth actually starred in the 1855 Shakespeare’s Richard III in Baltimore. During the Civil War, Booth remained in the North to pursue his acting career despite his feelings about African Americans. Booth was a big believer in slavery and white supremacy(History.org).
On April 11, 1865, two days after the surrender of the Confederate Army, Abraham Lincoln gave an important speech. In this speech he talked about his plans for peace and reconstruction in America. John Wilkes Booth happened to be in the audience and was outraged hearing what Lincoln had to say. After hearing this speech Booth said, Now, by God, I’ll put him through, that is the last speech he will ever make. (John Wilkes Booth) And Booth was not lying, it was the last speech he ever gave. On March 20, 1865 Booth planned to kidnap Lincoln, but he failed to be at the spot where Booth and six other conspirators waited. Two weeks later Richmond fell to the Union Forces, breaking down the Confederate Army even more. The Confederate Army was close to destruction during this time. After Booth’s original plan fails, he comes up with an eager plan to save the Confederacy. On April 14, Booth masterminded a plan even more sinister than kidnapping. Booth and his co-conspirators thought that the simultaneous assassination of Lincoln, Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William H. Seward and two of Lincoln’s successors would throw the government into disarray. Booth declared Lincoln must be killed and decided to assassinate the President, Vice President, and Secretary of State all in the same evening(History.org).
During the evening on April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in Washington D.C. The attack came five days after the Confederate Army surrendered at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, basically ending the Civil War. At 10:15 p.m. John Wilkes Booth sneaked into the presidential box and fatally shot President Lincoln using his .44-caliber single-shot derringer pistol. Booth shot him in the back of head and the bullet traveled just behind his left ear, tearing through his brain and lodged just behind his right eye. Once Booth shot Lincoln, Henry Rathbone rushed towards Booth and Booth stabbed him. After stabbing Rathbone, Booth leapt onto the stage and shouted, Sic semper tyrannis! (John Wilkes Booth) This was the Virginia state motto. At first, the audience thought that what happened was all part of the production. The screaming from the first lady is what changed their minds and made them realize something bad just happened. John Wilkes Booth actually broke his leg leaping from the presidential box to the stage but still managed to leave the theatre and escape from Washington on horseback. A doctor named Charles Leale was in the audience and rushed to the presidential box once hearing the shot and first lady Mary Lincoln’s scream. Charles found Lincoln slumped in his chair, paralyzed, and having difficulty breathing. Multiple soldiers carried Lincoln to a boarding house across the street from the theatre. They called for a surgeon general and upon arrival, he concluded that Lincoln could not be saved and would probably die during the night. The other targets that Booth’s accomplices were supposed to take care of escaped alive. Lewis Powell, an accomplice, went to Seward’s house, and stabbed and seriously injured the Secretary of State, but survived. Another accomplice, George Atzerodt, could not go through with assassinating Vice President Johnson (ushistory.org).
Vice President Andrew Johnson, members of Lincoln’s cabinet and several of his closest friends stood by the president’s bedside in the Peterson’s Boarding House. The first lady lay on a bed in an adjacent room with her eldest son Robert by her side. Sadly, Lincoln was pronounced dead at 7:22 a.m. on April 15, 1865, at the age of 56(history.com). President Lincoln’s body was placed in a temporary coffin, draped with a flag and escorted by cavalry to the White House. Surgeons then proceeded to conduct an autopsy and during the autopsy they clipped a lock of Lincoln’s hair for Mary Lincoln.
The nation was in shock and in great grief. The news of the Lincoln’s death spread like wildfire and by the end of the day there were businesses closing and flags were waving around at half-mast. On April 18, Lincoln’s body was transported to the Capitol rotunda to lay in state on a catafalque. Three days later, Lincoln’s body was put on to a train headed to Springfield, Illinois. Tens of thousands of Americans lined the railroad route to pay their respects to President Lincoln during the train’s solemn progression into the North. Lincoln and his son, Willie, who died in the White House of typhoid fever in 1862, were interred on May 4, 1865, at Oak Ridge Cemetery near Springfield(history.com)
The search for John Wilkes Booth was one of the largest manhunts in history, with 10,000 federal troops, detectives and police tracking down the assassin (history.com). As the nation continued to mourn, Union soldiers were on the hunt for the killer, John Wilkes Booth. After fleeing the capital, he had one accomplice with him and they made their way across the Anacostia River and were headed toward Maryland. The two stopped at the Samuel Mudd’s home, a doctor who treated Booth’s broken leg. This right here would earn Samuel Mudd a life sentencing. After Booth’s leg was fixed, they were on their way to Thomas A. Jones’s home. On April 26, Union troops surrounded the Virginia farmhouse where Booth and Herold were hiding out and set fire to it. Herold surrendered but Booth was not giving up. As the flames intensified, a sergeant shot Booth in the neck, he allegedly raised his gun as if he was going to fire a round. After Booth was shot, he was then brought out, still alive and his last words were Useless, useless. (John Wilkes Booth) Four of Booth’s co-conspirators were convicted for their part in the assassination and executed by hanging on July 7, 1865.
When President Lincoln was assassinated the nation was in deep grief and lost guidance because he was a great leader and accomplished many things. President Lincoln was one of the best presidents we’ve ever had. He was the one to stop slavery and make a change in the country.
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