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In this report I will be talking about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. I will be covering how it happened, when, where, and why. I also am going to talk about how this affected American history. It happened on April 14, 1865. Abraham Lincoln was attending a comedy performed by Laura Kleene, called “Our American Cousin.” Lincoln was late for the show but in a great mood. He laughed lots during the play. Those with him were his wife Mary Todd Lincoln, Officer Henry Rathbone, and Rathbone’s fiancé, Clara Harris. Lincoln was in a private box above the stage. With the officer there and Lincoln in such a good mood, no one would have known what happened next. Famous actor John Wilkes Booth, age twenty-six, snuck into the president’s box and shot the unsuspecting president in the back of the head with a .44 caliber pistol. He had heard earlier of the president’s coming to the theatre and as James Swanson says in Chasing Lincoln’s Killer regarding Booth, “Whoever told Booth about the president’s plan to attend the play that night had unknowingly activated  in his mind an imaginary clock that bagan ticking down, minute by minute.” Officer Rathbone wasted no time in reacting and rushed at Booth, who stabbed him in the shoulder and jumped out of the president’s box onto the stage. In all this confusion the crowd at first did not process what had happened. They thought this was all part of the performance, after all, Booth was a famous performer. But soon they learned otherwise as the first lady screamed out. Though Booth had broken his leg during the risky jump to the stage, he still managed to exit the theatre and flee to Washington on horseback. Charles Leale, a 23 year old doctor that had been sitting in the crowd reacted quickly. Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination-Facts & says, “Charles Leale was in the audience and hastened to the presidential box immediately upon hearing the shot and Mary Lincoln’s scream. He found the president slumped in his chair, paralyzed and struggling to breathe.” He did not die immediately. Lincoln was carried to a boarding house across the street and laid down on a bed. Once the general Surgeon arrived, he stated that Lincoln was beyond help and would most likely die in the night. He wasn’t far off. Abraham Lincoln died the next morning at seven twenty-two a.m. on April 15, year 1865. He was 56 years old. With him in the boarding house were vice president Andrew Johnson, members of Lincoln’s cabinet, his closest friends, along with Lincoln’s wife and eldest son Robert. The news quickly spread and the nation mourned the loss of the United States’ 16th president. His body was placed in a coffin and a flag was laid over it. Then he was carried to the White House by the army cavalry for an autopsy. On April 18th he was carried to the Capitol rotunda, and three days later was boarded onto a train that brought him to Springfield, Illinois, which is where he had lived prior to his presidency. So Abraham Lincoln was dead, and Vice President Andrew Johnson took over as president. But where was the assassinator? After Booth reached Washington, he met with an accomplice, David Herald. David Herold knew the countryside of Maryland very well because of his past bird hunting there. This knowledge could be a reason Booth befriended him, or perhaps because Herold studied pharmacy and worked with medicines, and Booth had a past of smuggling quinine (a medicine) to the south. They met on the road to Surrattsville. They stopped at John Lloyd’s tavern to pick up a few items, then together they road to Maryland. They reached Dr. Samuel Mudd’s house, near Bryantown. Mudd tended to Booth’s broken leg, (which later earned him a life sentence) and the two fugitives left the doctor’s house by noon. After leaving Mudd’s house, Booth and Herold headed toward William Burtles house. He was a confederate sympathizer. Burtles lived southeast of Bryanstown. Booth and Herold got lost on the way and recruited a man named Oswell Swann to guide them. They decided instead to now go to the house of Samuel Cox. He as well supported the Confederacy. As says, “While Swann claimed they stayed 3-4 hours, Cox, when interviewed, denied letting them into the house.” Booth and Herold left and ended up hiding out in a pine thicket about two miles away. Later Cox asked his adopted son Thomas A. Jones, a confederate agent, to get both Booth and Herold across the Potomac and into Virginia. Jones found the two and told them he would get them across as soon as it was safe. So Booth and Herold hid out in the pine thicket and were supplied with food by Cox and Jones’ overseer, Franklin Robey. They stayed like this for four whole days. In this time the federal troops came precariously close to the fugitives. Both the men’s horses were shot and killed so that they wouldn’t give away their location. Finally on April twentieth, Jones came to get the men. He brought them to his home. There he brought them food, but wouldn’t allow them to come in. Jones led Booth and Herold down a path to the shore of the Potomac. Here Booth was put in a small boat, and Herold got in to row.  Jones told them directions to get to the home of Elizabeth Quensenburry. The two paid Jones for the boat and started off. They were supposed to reach Point Mathias, VA, but due to navigation difficulties, the pair ended up in Blossom Point, MD. Herold recognized the area and brought them to his friend, Peregrine Davis’s house. Davis’s son-in-law was at the farm and fed them. He allowed them to stay through the evening of April twenty-second. Later that night Booth and Herod left to get to Point Mathias by crossing the river again. This time they reached the Virginia shore. Herold traveled to Elizabeth Quensenbury’s house and asked for transportation up the country. Concerned about his manner and mood, she declined and Herold left. She contacted Harbin, through who with William Bryant got them to the summer house of Richard Stuart, who Mudd had recommended to them. Stuart knew who the men were and wouldn’t help them except for feeding them. He directed them to the Lucas family house were they were reluctantly allowed to stay. Herold and Booth reached the Garrett farm with the help of some former Confederate soldiers, whose names were Mortimer Ruggles, Absalom Bainbridge, and William Jett. Booth, posing as Herold’s brother, was allowed to stay for a while. Herold continued on with Jett toward the town Bowling Green. Jett stayed at the Star Hotel with Ruggles and Herold and Bainbridge stayed at a different farm. In the morning Herold went back to the Garrett farm and the former Confederate soldiers headed north. But as they did they spotted the Union Cavalry, they quickly returned to warn Booth and Herold, then fled east. Booth and Herold hid in the woods next to the barn after receiving this warning, but when they returned to the farm, they were no longer welcome in the house, but could stay in the Tabacco barn. The Union Cavalry had been informed  that Booth and Herod might of crossed the Potomac river, and were hot on their trail. They captured Jett and says, “At the hotel, Jett, with a gun to his head confessed that Booth had been left at the Garrett farm.” The Union Cavalry, led by Edward Doherty, went back to the Garrett farm. They surrounded the place and threatened Richard Garrett to tell them where Booth was. Garrett told them Booth and Herold were in the tobacco barn. The fugitives tried to flee but found they had been locked in by Garrett to ensure they wouldn’t steal his horses. Doherty’s men surrounded the barn and negotiations began, but after about an hour the Union threatened to set the barn on fire. At this time Herold surrendered, and was let out of the barn and tied to a nearby tree. Finally the Union set the barn on fire, and as Booth went towards the door with a pistol and a carbine, he was shot by Sargent Boston Corbett, and paralyzed. He was dragged out of the burning barn alive, but he wouldn’t survive the shot. He died on April twenty-sixth. His last words were, “Useless, useless.” So Booth was dead, and Herold captured, but what caused this assassinator to take such drastic action in the first place? Booth was a Confederate sympathizer. His original plan was not to kill Lincoln, but to kidnap him. By kidnapping Lincoln and taking him to the Confederate capital, Richmond, Booth hoped to restart the prisoner exchange of the civil war. Booth with his accomplices; Samuel Arnold, and Michael O’Laughlin, planned to abduct the president as he rode the three miles from the White House to his summers residence at the old soldiers home. As it is said in, “Throughout the summer and fall, Booth further developed the plan but took no action toward implementing it.” Booth added David Herold, George Atzerdodt, Lewis Powell, and John Surrat to his group. John’s mother owned a tavern south of Washington that served as a meeting place for these men. Booth continued thinking about the kidnapping plot, and with Booth’s accomplices growing more and more impatient with the lack of action, Booth decided they would attempt to capture the president on March seventeenth, as he returned from a performance. They waited along the road for the president, but he failed to show up at the spot. They later learned Lincoln’s plans had changed, and he had instead attended an event at Booth’s hotel with the governor of Indiana. Two weeks later Richmond was taken by the Union, and Confederate armies were failing across the south, Booth desperately came up with a plan to save the Union. Booth planned with his accomplices Lewis Powell, David Herold, and George Atzerdodt, to kill the president, Abraham Lincoln, which he would do himself, the secretary of state, William Seward, which he assigned to Herold and Powell, and to kill the vice president, Andrew Johnson, which he left to Atzerdodt. Though Booth succeeded in his mission objective, his friends did not. So the assassination was really just Booth trying to save the Confederacy, but it failed. So the loss of Abraham Lincoln took great effect on the nation. Lincoln had served as a great leader and proved himself during the Civil War. The nation would never be the same after this great man died. The nation had to take a step forward and move on in history, but Lincoln will be remembered forever.

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