Articles

The Day a Nation Changed, the Day Lincoln was Shot

In assasination, U.S History, U.S Presidents on April 14, 2008 by Editor Z

On this date on the evening of April 14, 1865, an event took place which forever altered the course of a wounded and war battered America, when then U.S President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. The promise of a peace at the hand of a leader who oversaw the war, was tried by its mighty challenges, traveled across the scarred and combat battered terrain of America, visiting wounded war veterans, faces darkened by despair and poverty, whites fighting the war to keep America from being torn asunder, and of blacks who remained in the bondage of institutional slavery’s heavy and tarnished chains; died along with Lincoln.

The great promise of coming to realize the “better angels of our nature” would not come to fruition and would be impeded in the decades ahead, as blood spilled dried on America’s grassy battlefields and both the haunting smoke and thunder of cannon and gunfire.

But originally the national chaos and crisis was to be greater. Then U.S General for the Union Ulysses S Grant, was originally supposed to be attending the show at Ford’s theater. An assassin who was also staying at the same hotel as Vice President Andrew Johnson was supposed to murder him, but after a few drinks he decided not to go through with it. Also, then U.S Secretary of State William H Seward and his son were attacked at their home. Seward was attacked and stabbed both in the throat and breast while in bed, but survived.

Here are some original reports of Lincoln’s death:

New York Herald Sun (Herald Dispatch on April 14)-

Assassination has been inaugurated in Washington. The bowie knife and pistol have been applied to President Lincoln and Secretary [of state] Seward. The former was shot in the throat, while at Ford’s Theatre tonight. Mr Seward was badly cut about the neck, while in his bed at his residence.

Following that and a string of other dispatches, here was one that appeared the next morning April 15 at 1:30A.M:

This evening at about 9:30pm, at Ford’s Theatre, the President, while sitting in the private box with Mrs Lincoln, Mrs Harris, and Major Rothburn, was shot by an assassin who suddenly entered the box and approached behind the president.

The assassin then leaped upon the stage brandishing a large dagger or knife, and made his escape in the rear of the theatre.

The pistol ball entered the back of the President’s head and penetrated nearly through the head. The wound is mortal.

The President has been insensible ever since it was inflicted and is now dying.

Its tremendously powerful to read these words as if the incident is still unfolding. But here is a bit on maybe what could have been. Here is a piece of the article which describes Lincoln’s demeanor on that which would be the last day of his life.

At a cabinet meeting, at which General Grant was present, the subject of the state of the country and the prospect of a speedy peace was discussed. The President was very cheerful and hopeful, and spoke very kindly of General [Robert. E] Lee and other of the Confederacy, and of the establishment of government in Virginia.


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