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ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN.
Henceforward, the Fourteenth day of April, 1865, will stand in the annals of our country equal in importance with the ever memorable Fourth of July, 1776. On the lith of April, 1861, the national flag was lowered on the ramparts of Fort Sumter to the overwhelming forces of the Rebellion. On the 14th of April, 1865, just four years after the gallant Major Anderson run the Banner down from the flag-staff and bore it away as a holy treasure to the care of the loyal North, the same banner vindicated iv a thousand bloody battles, was again flung to the breeze by the same poble hero, over the same spot whence it disappeared in 1861. The 14th of April, 1865, was a day of jubilee throughout the nation. Richmond had been captured. LEE's army of veterans, the main stay of the Rebellion, was defeated, broken, and prisoners. It's surrender had sealed the fate of treason. JOHNSTON could not hold out before the invincible legions of SHERMAN, and Peace, walking in the footsteps of Victory, was at hand. The nation was exultant. Its great heart throbbed with & joy inexpressible, and throughout the length and breadth of the land preparations for celebrating the Fourteenth day of April had been made. At twelve o'clock, the stars and stripes were floating in every city, town and hamlet, . on many a mountain and hill-top, in every valley, and on all the plains, North, East and West, in honor of their restoration to Sumter and their triumph over the black flag of anarchy and slavery.
Monday night, April the 17th, was designed as a night of illumination, and there was not a loyal household in the land that had failed to prepare its flags, its portraits of our heroes, and its candles, lamps or bonfires for the glorious occasion.
But if the day was to be celebrated with such wild demonstrations of delight as our fathers and their children
were used to honor the Anniversary of our Independence of Britain, henceforth associated with the laurels of victory are to be found entwined the sombre weeds of woe, the sighing leaves of the yew tree, and the silently waving ranches of the willow.
Assassination stalked abroad with the shadows of that eventful night and
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, the respected, revered, and beloved Leader and President, fell beneath the hand of one who had not the courage to look into his manly and honest face and commit the deed, but stealthily and cowardly approached him from behind and fired the fatal shot which deprived the country of its best and purest magistrate since the time of Washington.
During the day, Mr. LINCOLN had been unusually cheerful. His heart which entertained “malice toward none and charity for all” was filled with a happiness which he vainly tried to express in words to those around him. His face told more than bis lips could utter, and at the Cabinet Meeting held that day, the members remarked that he was more than ever cheerful, and seemed to feel that the great burden which had been weighing so heavily upon bis spirits for the four years previous, was at last lifting from his breast.
The hour had come the long looked for, the often prayed for hour, when the carnage which treason had initiated was stayed, and smiling Peace again furled her wings over a land restored to harmony. Realizing this, as only the patriotic heart of Mr. LINCOLN could realize 80 momentous' a fact, he was happy in the fullest and broadest sense of the word. Amid the glad thoughts which rushed like waves of joy through his bosom, there was no one which whispered of the terrible fate which awaited bim, the horrible shock which with the next morning's dawn was to strike the rejoicing nation, his
own dearly loved people, dumb with grief-speechless with a woe that had no voice for utterance.
Late in the afternoon, the Hon. SCHUYLER COLFAX, Speaker of the House of Representatives and a warm per: sonal friend of Mr. LINCOLN, was with the President. Mr. COLFAX had called to pay his last respects to Mr. LINCOLN ere setting out on a tour to the Rocky Mountains. The President, ever mindful of the people, requested him to say to the miners of Nevada and the pioneers of the Far West, that he remembered them with much affection, and he desired that they should be encouraged in their purposes to develope the resources of that bitherto but little known region of our Republic. His sole ambition appeared then, as it always had during the war, and through his whole life, to be that of a benefactor to his country.
During the day, President LINCOLN had been invited to visit Ford's Theatre in the evening, and it was also an. nounced in the papers that Lieutenant-General GRANT would be present. When Speaker COLFAX rose to leave the Presidential Mansion, Mr. LINCOLN asked him if he would not accompany himself and Mrs. LINCOLN to the theatre, but Mr. COLFAX wishing to leave the city in a few hours, declined the urgent invitation, and shaking hands with the President in earnest farewell, and receiving his kind remembrances for the miners of the Far off West, left never again to see his illustrious friend in conscious life.
Mr. LINCOLN, in company with his lady, Miss HARRIS, daughter of Senator HARRIS of New York, and Major RATHBURN of the U. S. A., reached the theatre shortly before nine o'clock, and was received with a perfect tempest of applause, the audience rising, cheering and waving handkerchiefs and bats tumultuously. The President acknowledged the compliment by bowing repeatedly from his box, his face exhibiting a radiant pleasure, indicating the gratitude which filled his heart. It was a proud moment, and yet he was a man who felt no pride except in the discharge and accomplishment of duty.
THE ASSASSINATION. Abuut ten o'clock in the evening, wbile the play, “Our American Cousin," was progressing, a stranger, who proved to be John Wilkes Booth, an actor of some note, worked his way into the proscenium box occupied by the presidential party, and leveling a pistol close behind the bead of Mr. Lincoln, he fired, and the ball was lodged deep in the brain of the President. The assassin then drew a dirk, and cutting right and left with it, he sprang from the box, flourishing the weapon aloft, and shouted as he reached the stage the motto upon the escutcheon of the State of Virginia, “Sic Semper Tyrannis !” The miscreant dashed across the stage, and before the audience or the actors could recover from their amazement and bewilderment, or realize the real position of affairs, the murderer had mounted a fleet horse in waiting in an alley in the rear of the theatre, and galloping off, he escaped for a time.
The screams of Mrs. Lincoln first disclosed to the audi. ence the fact that the President was shot, when all rose, many pressing toward the stage, and hundreds of pereons exclaiming, “ Hang him! Hang him !" The excitement was of the wildest nature. Many rushed for the President's box, while others cried out, “ Stand back ! Give him fresh air !" and called for stimulants. It was not known at first where he was wounded, the most of those about him thinking that he was shot through the heart; but after opening his vest, and finding no wound in his breast, it was discovered that he was shot in the head between the left ear and the centre of the back part of the head. In a few moments he was borne to a private house, Mr. PETERSON'S, just opposite the theatre, where the Surgeon-General, and several prominent physicians and surgeons were speedily summoned. Meanwhile the members of the Cabinet, with the exception of Secretary SEWARD, whose life had been attempted by an assassin at about the same hour with the President, assembled in the room where the Chief Magistrate of the nation lay dying.
Secretaries STANTON, WELLES, USHER, MCCULLOCH, Attorney-General SPEED, and Assistant Secretaries Maun. SELI. B. FIELD, of the Treasury, and Judge WILLIAM T. OTTO, of the Interior, together with Speaker COLFAX, and several other prominent gentlemen were present. The scene was one of extraordinary solemnity. The history of the world does not furnish a parallel. Quiet, breathing away his life serenely, unconscious of all around, sensible to no pain, lay the great Man of the Nineteenth Century, passing hence to that immortality which has been accorded by Providence to few of earthly mould.
THE DYING SCENES. All the long, weary night, the watchers stood by the couch of the dying President. From the moment when the fatal bullet entered his brain he never spoke, never evinced any consciousness, but with closed eyes rested in a repose which appeared to be the quiet of death. Mrs. LINCOLN and Captain ROBERT LINCOLN several times entered the chamber, but their grief was such that they tarrijd but a brief time, tender friends urging them to remain in the adjoining room.
Day dawned at length, and the tide of life ebbed more rapidly, and at twenty-two minutes past seven o'clock, on the morning of Saturday, April 15th, 1865, the President breathed his last, closing his eyes as if falling to sleep, and his countenance assuming an expression of perfect serenity. There were no indications of pain, and it was not known that he was dead until the gradually decreasing respiration ceased altogether.