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eral heads of departments to resume their proper Federal functions in all the insurgent States: the Treasury Department to take possession of custom-houses and to collect duties; the War Department to garrison or destroy forts, to secure captured army material, and to preserve the peace; and so on, as to the Navy, Postoffice, and other departments. Informally, there were congratulations to Grant and talk of the closed campaign; and there were inquiries as to what should be done with the chiefs of the revolt—whether they should be allowed to find refuge abroad, or whether they should be arrested and brought to trial, and if the latter, what would be the penalty for their offenses. There was a general expression — and on Lincoln's part most especially — in favor of mild dealing, with as little resort to legal process as might be.
Mrs. Lincoln noticed that the President during their afternoon drive, following this Cabinet council, was in unusually good spirits, and remarked to him that he was in a like mood just before the fatal illness of their son Willie. But no kindly premonition warned her of the particular danger to be avoided. They intended to visit Ford's Theatre that evening in company with the Lieutenant-General.
In the joyous excitement of the time even the devotee seemed to forget the wonted associations of Good Friday. All places of amusement were thronged. There were crowds in the illuminated streets. Hours of night had passed when suddenly the cry rang through the capital: “ The President has been shot in his box at the theatre!"
The assassin, Wilkes Booth, born in Maryland, had a passionate ardor for the Secession cause, with no disposition to share its battles in the field. He performed with alcoholic courage a chosen or allotted part which suited him better. He had done enough theatrical work to screen his service as a go-between and spy — appearing one while on the boards at Nashville, where he tried to ingratiate himself with Military-Governor Johnson. He even found some admirers in Republican society at Washington, where he chiefly tarried during the summer of 1864, when not with his Confederate friends in Canada. Among the designs cherished in the latter quarter was one for the abduction of President Lincoln, to be carried to Richmond as a prisoner. Booth was made the leader in executing this design — an absurdly impracticable one, unless the real intent was murder. Full preparations were made late in the summer, including the performance of a popular comedy at the Soldiers' Home, at which the President was to have been present. An unexpected detention prevented his attendance, and the kidnapping scheme was given up; but Booth did not disband the gang he had organized for this occasion. He continued to meet them secretly at the house of a Mrs. Surratt, in Washington; and it was finally determined to proceed directly against the life of the President and others in high official positions. Booth alone accomplished the deed undertaken. Secretary Seward, however, was attacked, and narrowly escaped death, being long confined on account of the wounds he received.
“The President and his Lady will be at Ford's Theatre this evening ” was advertised on the fatal day
with much repetition through the columns of the afternoon paper. Grant's presence was also intended, but a telegram in the early evening called him northward. Lincoln would have preferred to remain at home, but was unwilling to disappoint an expectation which he had encouraged. Accompanied by Major Rathbone and Miss Harris, daughter of a New York Senator, he arrived late, and was most heartily greeted by the audi
As scene followed scene in his presence for half an hour or more, his attention to the stage was rather seeming than real. Occasionally he talked with his wife — speaking especially of the better days they might hope for now that the great conflict was over, and of his wish that when his official service finally ended they might together visit the Holy Land. These were the last words she remembered of this last conversation.
In the middle of a scene, when only one of the three characters just before in dialogue remained on the stage, there was a pause; a pistol shot was heard; a figure clad in black leaped from the President's box, stumbled, instantly rose, and escaped at the rear. In his hand was a dagger, with which he had cut the arm of Major Rathbone, who sought to detain him in the box. It is uncertain whether he shouted " Sic semper tyrannis!" or “ The South is avenged!" or both, or neither. According to the recollection of an actor who was standing near the assassin as he turned to flee, he said nothing.
A surgeon was called; a guard of soldiers marched into the gallery; the theatre was speedily cleared; and
* See statement of W. J. Ferguson, in “Lincoln Number" of the Independent, April 4, 1895.
the unconscious President was borne to a small dwelling-house across the way. During that indescribable night the dying man was surrounded by his family, his private secretaries, the members of his Cabinet—except the one who was himself lying helpless at home from wounds meant to be mortal; the Vice-President and others, too, were there; medical attendants were carefully watching in utter hopelessness the variations of pulse and respiration, until, after morning light had come (7:20 A.M.), the last heart-beat was recorded.
Pursuit of the fugitive criminals was promptly pushed. Booth, attended by one of his accomplices, was traced through lower Maryland into Virginia; was found (April 26th) secreted in a tobacco-house a few miles beyond the Rappahannock; and, threateningly resisting arrest, was killed by a soldier's shot. The accomplice who fled with Booth, and three others, including Mr. Seward's assailant, were executed a few weeks later under sentence of a military court.
So many utterances of sorrow and sympathy, so many tributes and eulogies from orators, poets, authors, journalists, or such fitting unwritten words from people of all classes, were surely never before called forth by the death of any great ruler. In British America the shock was felt almost as universally as in the United States. From all parts of Great Britain and Ireland, from Germany, France, Italy, and the countries beyond, came words of condolence, with high recognition of the greatness and goodness of the departed.
On Saturday the remains of President Lincoln were
removed to the White House, which was closed during Sunday and Monday. On Tuesday, the dead lying in state in the East Room was viewed by many thousands, the crowded current of people continuing through the entire day. There were funeral services in the same room on Wednesday, followed by a procession which filled from side to side the broad avenue from the White House to the Capitol, where there was a lying-in-state in the rotunda during the following day. On Friday the funeral journey by railway began; there was a lyingin-state at Philadelphia, in Independence Hall, from Saturday evening to Monday morning; in New York, and everywhere else on the route by Albany, Buffalo, Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, and Chicago to Springfield, there were manifestations of popular feeling beyond measure or precedent. The 4th of May, the day of the final obsequies and of the entombment at Oak Ridge, was observed as a day of national mourning.