Page images
PDF
EPUB

or "What is the matter? and deponent replied, “The President is shot.' Very soon after, two persons, one wearing the uniform of a naval surgeon and the other that of a soldier of the Veteran Reserve Corps, came upon the stage, and the deponent assisted them in climbing up to the box.

“ And this deponent further says that the facts stated in the foregoing affidavit, so far as the same came to the knowledge or notice of this deponent, are accurately stated therein.

“ CLARA H. HARRIS. "Subscribed and sworn before me this 17th day of April, 1865.

A. B. Olin, Justice of Supreme Court, D. C."

SURGEON GENERAL BARNES STATEMENT.

On the night of the assassination, Surgeon General Barnes was met in front of Willard's Hotel by an officer pale and breathless, who informed him that the President had been shot. Supposing that the deed was done at the White House, General Barnes hurried thitherward. Stopping at the Surgeon General's office to give orders for assistance, he found a summons to the bedside of Secretary Seward, who had been attacked by an assassin. Believing that the two stories were from this, Barnes hurried to the chamber of Mr. Seward. He found him Jying upon the bed with

the bed with one cheek cut open and part of the flesh lying upon the pillow. The room presented a horrible scene. Blood was everywhere. The attendants were helpless. A deed of horror had been enacted; but there was no one to explain its details. Dr. Barnes immediately gave his attention to Mr. Şeward ; but soon afterward Dr. Norris arrived, and, turning over the Secretary to his care, the Surgeon General proceeded to look after the Assistant Secretary, Frederick Seward, who was lying insensible upon a sofa in the adjoining

In the meantime other surgical attendants had come, among whom was Dr. Notson, and while ministering to the wounded at Secretary Seward's, the Surgeon-General was summoned to the dying murdered President.

room.

DESCRIPTION OF FORD'S THEATRE. Ford's Theatre is situated on Tenth street, just above E street, in Washington. It is a large edifice, constructed of brick, and of plain appearance.

Its internal arrangements are somewhat novel, differing from those in our large cities. There are eight private boxes instead of six, as is the case in the Philadelphia theatres The four lower boxes, two on each side of the stage, are scariely more than loopholes, and are very excellent points from which those wbo wish to see and remain unseen may take inspection. The apertures which appear above the stage are about three feet square. Consequently the boxes im mediately above them are elevated but a short distance above the stage, a distance which any one could easily leap, even were his nerves not freshly braced from the commission of a murder.

The four upper boxes are the boxes of the theatre, and are very elegant and spacious. They give a tone of elegance to the auditorium, and are sumptuously appointed. It is in them that the most magnificent displays of toilette are made upon nights of opera, and that at once command the whole house, and are central points of inspection from it. Each accommodates quite a party, and the locale is so arranged that the greater portion of the occupants, except those in the back of the box, are in full view of the audience.

The box which the President occupied, and wbich was known as

THE PRESIDENT'S Box," consisted of the two upper boxes on the right hand side of the house as you face the stage, thrown into one.

Mr. Lincoln was alvays accompanied by a party, which, although limited to personal friends and foreign officials, to whom courtesy required the extension of an invitation, was always sufficiently large to render more than one box necessary for comfort.

into one.

The proprietor of the theatre had, therefore, at the commencement of the season, made arrangements by which these two boxes could at any time be thrown

They were fitted up with great elegance and taste. The curtains were of fine lace and buff satin, the paper dark and figured, the carpet Turkey, the seats velvet, and the exterior ornamentations were lit

up

with chaste chandelier suspended from the outside. A winding staircase leads up to the lobbies wbich conduct to the box, and unless the arrangements are more stringent than they used to be, no decently dressed person would find much difficulty, probably, in entering one of these boxes after they had once been opened for the ingress of the party using them.

The parquet consists of cane-seat chairs, rising in very gradual elevation, so that even the most distant observers obtain a fair view of the stage, and the entire parquette on an opera night, viewed from the stage or private boxes, resembles an exquisitely variegated parterre. The first tier or balcony is very commodious, and opens into a retiring-saloon, elegantly illuminated and appointed. A second tier, corresponding to the family circle, completed the portion of the house dedicated to the accommodation of the audience. The house would hold probably between two and three thousand people.

Tbere are two alleys at Ford's Theatre. One leads from the stage, along the east side of the theatre, between tbe theatre and a refreshment saloon, and so out to Tenth street. The alley is neatly paved, and is boarded and papered on both sides. The entry to it from the stage is through a glass door, and the exit from it on to Tenth street through a wooden one.

The other passage-way leads from the back of the theatre to a small alley which communicates with Ninth and other streets, and conducts to a livery-stable locality

It was in this alley that the horse of the murderer was kept waiting

The Tenth street door would have been too public, and escape, even temporary, a matter of impossibility. But the escape by tbe alley leading from the back of the stage was comparatively safe.

There are two doors there, one used for the egress and jugress of the actors, and the other devoted to the accommodation of scenery and machinery. It was through the smaller one that the assassin made his exit.

THE FUNERAL. In Cabinet Council it was determined that Wednesday, the 19th of April, 1865, should be devoted to the obsequies at the Capital, and acting Secretary of State, MR. HUNTER, issued the following dispatch to the people of the United States :

“TO THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES :—The undersigned is directed to announce that the funeral ceremonies of the late lamented Chief Magistrate will take place at the Executive Mansion, in this city, at 12 o'clock noon, on Wednesday, the 19th inst. The various religious denominations throughout the country are invited to meet in their respective places of worship at that hour, for the purpose of solemnizing this occasion witb appropriate ceremonies. (Signed)

“WM. HUNTER,

Acting Secretary of State. "Department of State, Washington, April 17th, 1865."

Tuesday, April 18th, was set apart for the citizens of Wasbington to visit the remains lying in state at the White House, and fully twenty thousand persons, irrespective of rank or color, looked upon the face of the dead President, and passed out with eyes weeping and bearts overburdened with grief.

THE OBSEQUIES. Wednesday, April 19th, dawned with a clear sky and a genial sun. Washington was in the deepest mourning.

All the stores were closed as they had been since the assassination. Sadness was depicted on every countenance, and soon the streets were thronged with military, societies, and citizens, wending their way to Pennsylvania Avenue and the White House. All the public buildings were draped in black, and every house in the city hung out the sombre crape.

At ten o'clock those invited to attend the funeral ceremonies in the White House began to assemble, while all the avenues leading to it were crowded with the military forming for procession, and the sidewalks were blockaded with an anxious and orderly multitude of spectators.

THE SCENES AT THE WHITE HOUSE.

By 10.30 it was almost impossible to wend one's way to the White House. None were admitted except by cards, wbich were inscribed as follows:

GREEN ROOM.

ADMIT THE BEARER TO THE

EXECUTIVE MANSION,

ON WEDNESDAY
THE 19TH OF APRIL, 1865.

In the centre of the East Room was the catafalque. Around the coffin was a large wreath of white camelias, orange blossoms, and evergreens. At the feet was a beautiful anchor, of choicest flowers, sent by Hon. Mrs. Sperry, of Connecticut; at the head was a cross of white camelias, and the delicate white exotics which, with a basket of flowers, was the present of Mrs. James H. Orne, of Philadelphia. A number of wreaths were scattered around in profusion.

Upon the centre, east side of the catafalque, was the

« PreviousContinue »