President Lincoln Assassinated!!: the Firsthand Story of the Murder, Manhunt, Trial, and Mourning
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For the 150th anniversary, Harold Holzer (The Civil War in 150 Objects) presents an unprecedented firsthand chronicle of one of the most pivotal moments in American history. On April 14, 1865, Good Friday, the Civil War claimed its ultimate sacrifice. President Lincoln Assassinated!! recaptures the dramatic immediacy of Lincoln’s assassination, the hunt for the conspirators and their military trial, and the nation’s mourning for the martyred president. The fateful story is told in more than eighty original documents—eyewitness reports, medical records, trial transcripts, newspaper articles, speeches, letters, diary entries, and poems—by more than seventy-five participants and observers, including the assassin John Wilkes Booth and Boston Corbett, the soldier who shot him. Courtroom testimony exposes the intricacies of the plot to kill the president; eulogies by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Wendell Phillips, and Benjamin Disraeli and poetry by Walt Whitman, Herman Melville and Julia Ward Howe give eloquent voice to grief; two emotional speeches by Frederick Douglass—one of them never before published—reveal his evolving perspective on Lincoln’s legacy. Together these voices combine to reveal the full panorama of one the most shocking and tragic events in our history.
his measure of faults and infirmities; with a great man, in a great period of time, they only become, with his virtues, more conspicuous. Every man has his mission, his destiny on earth; with men of eminent positions it only becomes more conspicuous. Whenever our mission is fulfilled God calls us hence. Abraham Lincoln fulfilled a great mission; he led the country through this glorious struggle to glorious victory, and bequeathed to us the ideas which, when fully developed and realized, not only
virtue, his grandest principle, the secret alike of his strength, his patience and his success. This, it seems to me, after being near him steadily and with him often for more than four years, is the principle by which more than by any other, he being dead yet speaketh. Yes, by his steady enduring confidence in God, and in the complete ultimate success of the cause of God, which is the cause of humanity, more than in any other way does he now speak to us and to the nation he loved and served so
on Shimei because “he cursed the Lord’s anointed”: “What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be adversaries unto me? Shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel?” �All Presidents receive visits from persons more or less demented. Mr. Hayes, when about to retire one day from his working-room, asked his messenger if there was any one waiting to see him. “Only two, and one of them is crazy.” “Send in the sane one,” said the President. A grave-looking man
With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations. Ford’s Theatre play bill for April 14, 1865, the night of the assassination. The last photograph of Lincoln, taken on
came with you across the river at Port Royal?” I was sitting on a chair. He came up towards me, and said, “Can I see you alone?” I said, “Yes, sir: you can.” Lieutenant Baker and Lieutenant Doherty were with me. I asked them to go out of the room. After they were gone, he reached out his hand to me, and said, “I know who you want; and I will tell you where they can be found.” Said I, “That’s what I want to know.” Said he, “They are on the road to Port Royal, about three miles this side of that.”