Tuesday, April 14, 2015

150 Years Ago: April 14, 1865

In 1865, today, April 14, was Good Friday. In the late morning of this day 150 years ago, John Wilkes Booth, who was a well-known an actor, visited Ford's Theater to pick up his mail. There he overheard someone saying that President Lincoln would be attending the performance that evening, and he spent the rest of the day plotting with Lewis Powell and George Atzerold. Booth would kill Lincoln, Powell would kill Secretary of State William Seward, and Atzerodt was assigned the task of killing Vice President Andrew Johnson.

At 10:13 p.m., Booth entered the private box at Ford's Theater where Lincoln was seated with his wife, Mary, a young army officer named Henry Rathbone, and Rathbone's fiancée, Clara Harris, the daughter of New York Senator Ira Harris, watching a performance of Our American Cousin, and shot the President in the back of the head.

At 10:15 p.m., Powell attacked Seward in his bed, slashing his face and inflicting a serious wound. Seward would survive the attack.

The third conspirator, Atzerold lost his nerve and spent the night drinking in a hotel bar.

In the afternoon of this fateful day, just after 3 p.m., Lincoln did something very touching and quite extraordinary. The story is told today in The Daily Beast: "The Untold Miracle of Lincoln's Last Day on Earth." 

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