Lincoln's Assassination

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Feb 18 2008 12 mins   2
President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, a southern sympathizer and a self-proclaimed modern-day Brutus, on April 14th, 1865 (five days after the end of the Civil War). Booth snuck into Lincoln's viewing Booth at the Ford's Theater while Lincoln was watching "Our American Cousin" and shot him in the back of the head. Booth then jumped down onto the stage and ran out the back door. The ensuing manhunt eventually caught up with him in the swamps of the Potomac River. He was shot, and his co-conspirators were hanged.

The event has many interesting stories associated with it:
  • Lincoln had a dream in which he walked into the East Room of the White House and saw a casket. He asked the soldiers why there was a casket and the soldiers told him that the President had been assassinated. He had the dream three days before being assassinated.
  • Robert Todd Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln's son, stood by his father's body as he passed away. Strangely, Robert Todd Lincoln would also stand by the sides of Presidents Garfield and McKinley (both shot by assassins) as they lay dying.
  • Robert Todd Lincoln once fell onto the train tracks but was saved by Edwin Booth, John's brother.
  • Boston Corbett, the soldier who fatally wounded Booth, shot him in the exact same spot that Booth shot Lincoln.
There are also several conspiracy theories about the Lincoln Assassination:
  • Vice President Johnson indirectly communicated with Booth on the day of the assassination. He stood to gain the most from the death of Lincoln.
  • Confederate Secretary of State Judah Benjamin might have ordered the assassination of the opposing head of state for tactical reasons. Benjamin destroyed all of his records after the surrender, and then fled to England and never returned.
  • Secretary of War Edwin Stanton disliked Lincoln for his moderate stance on many issues. Stanton prevented Ulysses Grant (and his military escort) from attending "Our American Cousin" with Lincoln (and potentially saving his life). He also lowered security on the bridge that Booth used to flee into Maryland. He also destroyed a few pages of Booth's diary before it was used as evidence in court.
For more information, read:
The American Presidents by David Whitney
Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer (The History Channel)
The Greatest Presidential Stories Never Told by Rick Beyer

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