« PreviousContinue »
Surrounding the death-bed of the President were Secretaries Stanton, Welles, Usher, Attorney-General Speed, Postmaster-General Dennison, M. T. Field, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury ; Judge Otto, Assistant Secretary of Interior ; General Halleck, General Meigs, Senator Sumner, F. R. Andrews, of New York; General Todd, of Dacotah ; John Hay, Private Secretary ; Governor Oglesby, of Illinois ; General Farnsworth, Mr. and Miss Kenny, Miss Harris, Captain Robert Lincoln, son of the President, and Dr. E. W. Abbott, R. K. Stone, C. D Gatch, Neal Hall, and Leiberman. Secretary McCulloch remained with the President until about 5 A. M., and Chief Justice Chase, after several hours attendance during the night, returned again early in the morning.
A special Cabinet meeting was called immediately after the President's death, by Secretary Stanton, and held in the room where the corpse lay. Secretaries Stanton, Welles, and Usher, Postmaster-General Dennison, and Attorney-General Speed, were present.
After his death, a complete examination was made of the wound with the following result: The ball entered the skull midway between the left ear and the centre of the back of the head, and passed nearly to the right eye. The ball and two loose fragments of lead were found in the brain. Singularly enough, both orbital roofs were fractured inwardly, properly from contre-coup. The tenacity of life, was specially noticed by every surgeon in attendance. The brain was taken out, but a considerable portion of it had already escaped from the wound.
The autopsy of the President was made in the presence of Surgeon-General Barnes, Dr. Crane and Dr. Stone, of Washington, and by Drs. Woodward, Notson, and Curtis, of the regular army.
Shortly after the sorrowful event, the President's body
was removed to the Executive Mansion in a hearse, and wrapped in the American flag. It was escorted by a small guard of cavalry, General Augur and other military officers following on foot. A dense crowd accompanied the remains to the White House, where a military guard excluded the crowd, allowing none but persons of the household and personal friends of the deceased to enter the premises.
The corpse was laid out in the room known as the guests' room, in the northwest wing of the White House, dressed in the suit of black clothes worn by him at his last inauguration. A placid smile rested upon the features, and the deceased seemed to be in a calm sleep, while flowers were placed upon the pillow and over the breast above the kindest heart that ever throbbed.
THE MURDERER OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN,
AND WHAT BECAME OF HIM. The murderer of Mr. Lincoln was John Wilkes Booth, an actor, and a native of Harford County, Maryland. During the continuance of the rebellion he was an ardent Secessionist, and he made no concealment of his warm sympatlıy with armed treason. He had frequently threatened to assassinate the President, and this threat was executed in the tragic and dramatic manner described.
The assassin made his way on horseback into St. Mary's county, where he lay. concealed for some days, eluding his pursuers, although the rewards for his capture amounted in the aggregate to over one hundred thousand dollars. It was, however, pretty conclusively ascertained that he was in this locality, and parties of cavalry finally closed in around him, so as to compel him to beat a retreat. On Sunday, April 23d, 1865, Colonel Baker ascertained that Booth, and an accomplice named Harold, had crossed the Potomac river in the neighborhood of Swann Point, and on Monday morning, April 24th, First Lieutenant Edward Doherty, 16th New York Cavalry, with a detachment of twenty-five cavalrymen of that regiment, and accompanied by some of Colonel Baker's detectives, proceeded by steamer to Belle Plain.
On Tuesday afternoon, April 25th, a man named Jett, by whom Booth and Harold had been ferried across the Rappahannock river. at Mathias Point, was arrested. At first, Jett refused to communicate anything ; but upon being threatened with instant death if he did not, he agreed to lead the party to the place where Booth and Harold were concealed. They were found on Tuesday night, in a barn, on the premises of Mr. Garrett, about three miles from Port Royal. They had ridden there from the ferry, both mounted on one horse.
The cavalry surrounded the barn and summoned the inmates to surrender. At first Booth insisted that he was alone. He talked with the men for three hours through the crevices of the barn, through which he could see plainly all that were outside, while they could distinguish nothing within. He told Lieutenant Doherty he had a bead drawn upon him, and could shoot him if he chose; but did mot fire.
At last, as guerillas were gathering in the vicinity, and Lieutenant Doherty feared his little party might be overpowered and lose the prisoners, he determined to burn them out. The barn was, therefore, set on fire, when Harold gave himself up; but Booth refused to surrender, and prepared to use his weapons. Sergeant Corbett then fired through one of the crevices, and shot Booth in the head. Upon being shot, Booth exclaimed, “It's all up now; I'm gone.” He was found to be wounded in the head, very nearly in the same spot where the fatal ball of the assassin entered the head of President Lincoln. А. doctor was sent for, and brandy administered, but he died in about two and a half hours after he was shot. He did not deny his crime, but declared that he died for his country. He was armed with two six-barrelled and one sevenbarrelled revolvers, and a large knife, probably the same which he flourished on the stage on the occasion of the assassination. He had also three packages of pistol cartridges, some bills of exchange, but only about one hundred and seventy-five dollars in Treasury notes. The bills of exchange were on a Canadian bank, were dated in October, 1864, when Booth was there, and are received as an important link in the chain of evidence showing that the assassination was planned in Canada. The capture occurred about three o'clock on Wednesday morning, April 26th. His left leg was much swollen from an injury received when he leaped from the President's box upon the stage at the theatre, although he had told Dr. Mudd, who had bandaged and set it, that he had been hurt by his horse falling upon it.
His accomplice and companion, David C. Harold, who had been with Booth ever since the crime was consummated, was captured and taken to Washington in company with the body of the dead assassin.
STATEMENTS AND AFFIDAVITS IN RELATION
TO THE MURDER.
Mr. FIELD, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, describes the scene, and the moment when he received the news of the murder, as follows:
MR. FIELD'S STATEMENT. “ On Friday evening, April 14th, 1865, at about half-past ten o'clock, I was sitting in the reading-room at Willard's Hotel, engaged with a newspaper, when a person hurriedly entered the hotel and passed up the hall, announcing in a loud tone of voice that the President had just heen shot at Ford's Theatre. I started to my feet, and had hardly reached the office when two other persons came in and confirmed the reportwhich at first I was hardly able to credit. I had parted about fifteen minutes previously with Mr. Mellen, of the Treasury Department, who had retired to his room for the night, and I at once went to him and communicated what had occurred, and we started together for the scene of the tragedy.
“ We found the streets already crowded with excited masses of people, and when we reached the theatre there was a very large assemblage in front of it, as well as of the opposite house, belonging to Mr. Peterson, into which the President had been conveyed. The people around the theatre related to us substantially the general facts connected with the assassination which have since been communicated to the public. The impression was prevalent, however, at that time, that the President had been shot in the breast, about the region of the heart, and that the wound might not prove fatal. After a few minutes we crossed the street and endeavored to gain admission into the house where Mr. Lincoln lay. This I effected with some little difficulty.
“ The first person whom I met in the hall was Miss Harris, daughter of Ū. S. Senator Ira Harris, of New York, who had been at the theatre with the Presidential party. She informed me that the President was dying, but desired me not to communicate the fact to Mrs. Lincoln, who was in the front parlor. Several other persons who were there confirmed the statement as to Mr. Lincoln's condition. I then entered the front parlor, where I found Mrs. Lincoln in a state of indescribable agitation. She repeated over and over again, · Why didn't he kill me? Why didn't he kill me?'
“ I asked if there was any service I could render her, and she requested me to go for Dr. Stone, or some other eminent physician. Both Dr. Stone and Surgeon-General Barnes had been already sent for, but neither had yet arrived. On my way out I met Major T. T. Eckert, of the War Department, who told me that he was bimself going for Dr. Stone. I then went for Dr. Hall, one of the most distinguished surgeons in the District. I found him at home, and he at once accompanied me. When we again reached the neighborhood of the house access had become very difficult, guards having been stationed on every side.
“After much effort I was enabled to obtain admission for Dr. Hall, but was not at that time permitted to enter myself; accordingly, I returned to Willard's. The whole population of the city was by this time out, and all kinds of conflicting stories were being circulated. At three or four o'clock I again started for Mr. Peterson's house. This time I was admitted without difficulty. I proceeded at once to the room in which the President was dying. It was a small chamber, in an extension or back building, on the level with the first or parlor floor. The President was lying on his back, diagonally across a low double bedstead, his head supported by two pillows on the outer side of the bed,
“ The persons in the room were the Secretaries McCulloch, Stanton, Welles, and Harlan, Postmaster-General Dennison, the Attorney-General, the Assistant Secretary of the Interior,