Within days of lee's surrender, the Union lost its leader. On the evening of April 14,1865, President Abraham Lincoln, First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln, and their friends Clara Harris and Major Henry Rathbone went to Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., to see the play Our American Cousin. An actor named John Wilkes Booth slipped behind the president's seat and shot him in the back of the head. When Rathbone went after Booth, the assassin slashed him with a knife. Then he leaped to the stage, shouted /'Sic semper tyrannus" ("So always to tyrants"), and escaped on horseback. Federal troops and local police officers immediately began a manhunt. Lincoln died of his wound the next morning. Vice President Andrew Johnson assumed the office of chief executive. On April 24, Union cavalry trapped Booth in a barn on a Virginia farm and killed him. Meanwhile, several of Booth's associates were arrested for helping him in the assassination plot. They were convicted of their crimes on June 30. Four were hanged. The rest were given long prison terms. While these events were unfolding, U.S. troops were also searching for Confederate President Jefferson Davis. He and his cabinet members had disappeared from Richmond on April 2. Although federal officials were not sure what to do with Davis, they did not want him to escape the country. Weeks later, Davis and his escort were captured near Irwinville, Georgia. By May 22, Davis was imprisoned at Fort Monroe, Virginia, and remained there for two years. He spent his last years writing his memoirs.
THE ASSASSIN John Wilkes Booth was as famous an actor in his day as many movie and television stars are now. Thousands of his fans were shocked at his attack on Lincoln. They were not aware of Booth's strong Confederate sympathies or his involvement with Confederate agents.
Ford's Theatre, where Abraham Lincoln was murdered, was owned by John Ford. He and many actors, as well as others who knew John Wilkes Booth, were detained by federal authorities after the assassination of the president. The theater was closed. However, today it is a National Historic Landmark. Tours of it are given, and occasionally it is used for special theatrical productions.
THE CONFEDERACY'S PRESIDENT IN CUSTODY
Jefferson Davis's wife and family were with him when he was captured by Union soldiers. They and other members of their party were placed in canvas-covered ambulances and driven into Macon, Georgia. This is the only known photograph of the group in custody. The ambulances are surrounded by cavalrymen. Mrs. Davis and the children were later forcibly separated from the former Confederate president. They did not see or hear from him until many months later.
DAVIS'S LAST FLAG This Confederate battle flag was carried by Jefferson Davis's personal military escort during the former president's flight from U.S. troops. Davis, determined to avoid capture, was armed with a powerful Henry repeating rifle. He and his party were seized in Georgia one night while they were gathered around a campfire. Not a shot was fired.
Booth's single-shot derringer
Knife used to slash Major Ratlibone
This old lithograph illustrates the events of April 14, 1865. After the shooting, the unconscious president was carried across the street from the theater to the small home owned by a tailor named Petersen. Lincoln passed away there near dawn the next day.
Mary Todd Lincoln
Major Henry Rathbone
PLAYING AT FORD'S THEATRE
This is a playbill for the feature performed at Ford's Theatre the night of April 14. Laura Keene, the star of Our American Cousin, knew Booth. She was briefly detained by the police. However, she had no part in the plot to kill the president.
This is a police mug shot of Lewis Powell, alias Lewis > Paine. A very tall and ^^^fl strong young man, ^KB Powell was a former member of John Mosby's Confederate ^^H
guerrilla outfit, the ^^^H Partisan Rangers. As ^^^H Booth was shooting FZs Lincoln, Powell was ^^^H attacking Secretary 'mJrj^k of State William I
Seward. That attempt was not successful. ^^^Hfl Others in the plot ^^^Bj were to kill Vice President Johnson and General Grant. They ^KL also failed. Powell B1J was arrested, charged with helping Booth, convicted, and hanged.
DAVIS'S DUNGEON PRISON
Jefferson Davis was held in a dank dungeon cell inside the stone walls of Fort Monroe, Virginia. He was never out of sight of the guards, and for a long time he was manacled to an iron ball and chain. A jury was selected in anticipation of a trial in which he would be charged with various crimes against the United States. However, no trial was ever held. After two years of confinement, Davis was bailed out of prison with funds raised by Northern newspaper publisher Horace Greelev.
ONE OF THE CONSPIRATORS Mary Surratt ran a Washington, D.C., boardinghouse. Booth and several conspirators involved in his plot to kill the president and other government officials often met there. She was convicted of taking part in the plot, and was the first woman ever executed by the federal government. Surratt and three men who were convicted of the same crime were hanged on July 7,1865.
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