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This contemporary sketch represents Booth assassinating President Lincoln, The figures are: Booth, President and Mrs. Lincoln, Miss Clara Harris and Maj. Henry R. Rathbone,
(Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, April 29, 1865.)

Assassination of Lincoln

President Lincoln was leaning slightly forward with his hand on the balustrade rail and had turned his head to look into the audience. Pulling around the flag that decorated the box, he was looking between the pillar and the flag. It was at this moment, approximately 10:15 p. m., that Booth silently entered the door to Box 8 and fired the fatal shot. A single shot muzzle loading Deringer, about 6 inches in length, was fired by the assassin at close range. The bullet, less than one-half inch in diameter, entered slightly above and between his left ear and the median line of the back of his head, and lodged close behind the right eye. The President slumped forward in his chair, and then backward, never to regain consciousness.

Booth entered the vestibule and barred the door to prevent interference. The dotted line indicates the position of the partition between the two upper boxes which was removed on the afternoon of April 14.

Instantly, Major Rathbone sprang upon the assassin. Booth dropped the Deringer, broke from Rathbone's grasp, and lunged at him with a large knife. Rathbone parried the blow, but received a deep wound in his left arm above the elbow. Booth placed one hand on the balustrade, to the left of the center pillar, raised his other arm to strike at the advancing Rathbone, and vaulted over the railing. Rathbone again seized Booth but only caught his clothing. As he leaped, Booth's right boot struck the framed engraving of Washington, turning it completely over. The spur on his right heel caught in the fringe of the Treasury Guards' flag and brought it down, tearing a strip with it. These obstacles caused the assassin to lose his balance and he fell awkwardly on the stage, at least 11-1/2 feet below, tearing a rent in the green baize carpet. He landed in a kneeling position, with his left leg resting on the stage. In the fall, the large bone of his left leg was fractured about 2 inches above the ankle.

Landing on the stage, Booth instantly regained his feet and is asserted to have shouted: "Sic Semper Tyrannis" before dashing from the stage. The sketch is erroneous in that the lower boxes were unoccupied.
(Harper's Weekly, April 27, 1865.)

The actor regained his feet with the agility of an athlete, and is asserted to have flourished his dagger and shouted "Sic Semper Tyrannis" (Thus always with tyrants), the motto of the Commonwealth of Virginia, before dashing across the stage. Harry Hawk, seeing Booth striding toward him with a knife, ran through the center doorway on the stage and up a flight of stairs to the flies.

Leaving the stage on the north side of the theater, Booth passed between Laura Keene and young William J. Ferguson, standing near the promptor's desk. In the narrow aisle leading from the stage to the rear door, Booth bumped into William Withers, Jr., the orchestra leader. He slashed twice at Withers, cutting his coat and knocking him to the floor before rushing out the door. Grasping the reins from " Peanuts" Burroughs, the assassin felled him with the butt end of his knife, then mounted his horse and rode swiftly from the alley.

Maj. Joseph B. Stewart, a lawyer, who was 6 feet 6 inches tall and probably the tallest man in Washington, was sitting in the front sear of the orchestra, on the right-hand side. Startled by the shot, he looked up and saw Booth tumbling onto the stage. Rising instantly, Stewart climbed over the orchestra pit and footlights, and pursued Booth across the stage, shouting several times "Stop that man!" He stepped out the back door only to see Booth mount his horse and ride away.

Booth escaped from the theatre by the rear door. He grasped the reins from "Peanuts" Burroughs, jumped on the mare's back, and rode furiously out of the alley to F Street, Major Stewart is in pursuit.
(Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, May 13, 1865.)

The audience, not realizing what had happened, was stunned for a moment by the report of the pistol. Even when Booth was seen leaping from the box to the stage, many thought it all a part of the play. The screams of Mrs. Lincoln first disclosed that the President was shot. Ford's Theatre then became a scene of terror and pandemonium. The people left their seats and wandered about in wild confusion. When the audience was quieted, the theatre was vacated for the last time.

Several doctors attended the stricken President. Asst. Surg. (U.S.A.) Charles A. Leale, seated in the nearby dress circle, was the first to reach the box, and Asst. Surg. Charles S. Taft was lifted from the stage into the box. Dr. A. F. A. King, of Washington, was also present. Examining the wound, they ordered the body of Lincoln to be removed to the nearest bed, as the ride over the rough cobblestone pavement to the Executive Mansion would have brought on a fatal hemorrhage. The unconscious form was carried down the dress circle stairway. On reaching the street, a man was seen on the porch of a house opposite, in front of a lighted hallway. The surgeons ordered Lincoln to be brought into this house. He was carried up the curving steps and down a hall to a small, first-floor bedroom. The single bed was pulled out from the corner of the room and the dying President laid diagonally across it, his extreme height not permitting any other position.


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