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Thread on Lincoln assassination:

154 years ago tonight our 16th President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at Ford's Theater while watching the play Our American Cousin.

Vintage 1865 colored print of late President
After spending four long years overseeing a civil war that witnessed over 500,000 dead, the war was finally over. Lincoln was looking forward to a night of relaxation at the theater.

CDV of President Lincoln with son Tad, who sadly died six years after his father at age 15.
Ford's theater had only opened two years earlier in 1863. One of the well known actors who appeared in Shakespearean plays: John Wilkes Booth, future assassin of our President.
President Lincoln & his wife Mary were accompanied by Major Henry Rathbone and his fiancee. They sat in an upper box, which you can still see today.
Booth, having performed at the theater before, entered with ease & no suspicion. A fervent Southern sympathizer, Booth hoped to reignite the civil war.

Sic Semper Tryannis - thus death to tyrants he allegedly yelled after shooting the President.

Yes, Booth has a bobblehead!
After being shot President Lincoln was carried across street to Peterson House, then a boarding house. His breathing was labored. He never regained conscienceness.
The small, single shot derringer Booth used to assassinate the President can be viewed in the Ford's Theater museum.
President Lincoln lived until 7:22 am the morning of April 15th. Throughout the night/morning visitors came by. But few, if any, of contemporaneous artists renderings are correct. All of Washington elite wanted to be in the scene!
Anyone who visits "House where Lincoln died" knows for one thing that the room wasn't big enough to hold all these people!

Another contemporary 1865 illustration with Lincoln's family present.
And another different version 1865 contemporary illustration
And a CDV (Carte de Visite) version that would have been sold on street & in stores as souvenir.
Early postcard, circa 1905, of Ford's Theatre. Many different versions exist.
Churches and synagogues throughout US held memorial services
President Lincoln's body was taken by train to Illinois
Tens of thousands of Americans caught a glimpse of the President's funeral train as it crossed the US.
The President lies in Springfield, Illinois. Freakishly, thieves tried to steal his body in 1876. He was exhumed in 1901 with surviving son Robert present and said to be very preserved. It was ensured thieves could never get to his body again.
Assassin John Wilkes Booth was one of the most famous actors of his day. His entire family was basically famous. Think the Sheen or Barrymore families.

Many CDVs already existed pre-assassination (some below) but many more were printed and sold afterwards.
Booth was now infamous and hated by many. A post-assassination CDV reflected his new title - Assassin.
The assassination of President Lincoln, of course, was part of a bigger conspiracy plot. This CDV showed the primary members of that conspiracy effort.
Some of the plot was hatched at Mary Surratt's house. Her son John was part of the conspiracy. Extent of her involvement is still hotly debated today. She was tried by military tribunal w/primary conspirators & hung - 1st woman executed by federal govt.
The conspiracy trial is already very controversial bc it was held by military even though war had ended & civilian courts were functioning.

Rare print of transcript of tribunal proceedings.
Trial was held within two months of assassination. No way that would ever happen today.
Delete "already", was supposed to be "also"!
Lots of ppl made money off there assassination. Street vendors hawked many items including these pamphlets about the assassination.
Meanwhile Booth escaped for 12 days until confronted in southern Virginia by NY 16th Cavalry. It is believed Sgt Boston Corbett, who later went insane, shot and killed him.
Not everyone believed Booth was killed. Many theories promoted over the years that he escaped capture. One such theory by Finis Bates was recounted in 1907 book that talked of 1903 suicide of "real" JWB.

In 1995, I led legal effort to exhume JWB's body to answer that question.
One person tried by govt was Dr. Samuel Mudd, who helped JWB w/broken leg. Controversy still exists whether Dr was knowingly part of conspiracy. Saying "his name is mud" came from Dr. Mudd. He was pardoned by Pres Johnson in 1869 after saving many prisoners from yellow fever
Secretary of War Edward Stanton autograph letter signed, dated 29 June 1865 on "War Department / Washington City" letterhead thanking psychiatrist Dr. John P. Gray and relieving him of duty in connection with the trial of Lincoln assassination conspirators.
John Surratt actually did escape & traveled throughout world until captured in Egypt. He was tried in 1867 but appeared before DC civilian jury & was acquitted!
After his trial John Surratt moved to Baltimore & generally stayed out of limelight. Amazingly he lived another half century until 1916.

Official trial transcripts:
The Peterson House was bought by Lincoln collector Osborn Oldroyd & turned into museum. Govt purchased collection in 1926 for $50,000. Ironically, Cong Henry Rathbone, son of Major Rathbone (w/President when killed), helped pass legislation for purchase.
Vintage circa 1905 postcard of Oldroyd house, which is still museum today.
[END] Just a sample of my #Lincoln #assassination collection shown to you on this 154th anniversary.

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