Assassination of Abraham Lincoln


Who: Abraham Lincoln, perpetrated by John Wilkes Booth

What: An actor shot the sixteenth President of the United States in the head.

Where: Ford’s Theater, Washington DC.

Why: Booth was a Confederate sympathizer.

When: April 14, 1865

“Sic semper tyranis!” – Thus always to tyrants, allegedly spoken by Booth at the assassination.

On April 14 1865 the first of four Presidents to be assassinated fell in a theater in Washington. The perpetrator, John Wilkes Booth, was the Tom Hanks of his time: celebrated, wealthy and considered to be one of the finest actors of his generation. (It’s also worth bearing mind Hanks is related to Lincoln). During a special performance of the comedy “Our American Cousin”, Booth entered the Presidential Box where Lincoln was sat and shot him point blank with a derringer pistol. The bullet entered through Lincoln’s left ear, ending up above his right eye. He immediately fell unconscious and never recovered, dying nine hours later in a boarding house across the street. Booth escaped by leaping down onto the stage, and riding off on a horse he had waiting outside. A two-week manhunt led to Booth surrounded by Union troops at Garrett’s Farm in Virginia, where he was shot by a Union sergeant named Boston Corbett. Lincoln’s Secretary of State, William H Seward was also attacked at his home by Lewis Powell (or Paine), who injured Seward’s son Frederick after an intense struggle and slashed at Seward’s face and throat, though he survived.

Further reading:


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