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Topics in Chronicling America - Lincoln Assassination

On April 15, 1865 President Abraham Lincoln is shot by John Wilkes Booth during a special performance at Ford’s Theater. A nine-car funeral train carries the body of the President to Springfield, Illinois, where he is buried on May 4th. Although many of the co-conspirators in this large are captured, John Wilkes Booth is shot after being traced to a farm in Bowling Green, VA on April 24th. The other co-conspirators in the assassination plots on President Lincoln, Secretary Seward, and Vice President Johnson are later tried and convicted by an army military commission. Read more about it!

The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/). Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.


Drawing of Lincoln's assassination.

Jump to: Sample Articles

Important Dates:

  • April 14, 1865. Abraham Lincoln is shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater in Washington DC while attending a special performance of the comedy, "Our American Cousin". Secretary of State William Henry Seward is shot by Lewis Paine at the same time at his home near the White House.
  • April 21, 1865. Lincoln's body departs Washington in a nine-car funeral train. The 1,700-mile trip back to Illinois would essentially be over the same tracks that carried the then President-elect east in 1861. Cities along the route that hold funeral processions include Philadelphia, New York City, Buffalo, Cleveland, and Chicago.
  • April 26, 1865. John Wilkes Booth and accomplice David Herold are caught by the military at a farm near Bowling Green, Virginia. Although Herold surrenders, Booth is shot and killed.
  • May 4, 1865. Abraham Lincoln is laid to rest in a tomb at Springfield's Oak Ridge Cemetery.
  • May 10, 1865. An army military commission is convened to try Mrs. Mary Surratt, David Herold, Lewis Paine, George Atzerodt, Edman Spangler, Michael O'Laughlin, Samuel Arnold, and Dr. Samuel Mudd for their parts in the conspiracy to assassinate President Lincoln. Surratt, Herold, Paine, and Atzerodt will eventually be given the death penalty, while the remaining defendants are sentenced to imprisonment.
  • July 7, 1865. Four co-conspirators, Lewis Paine, George Atzerodt, David Herold, and Mary Surratt, were executed by hanging at the Old Penitentiary, on the site of present-day Fort McNair, for their part in the assassination conspiracy.

Suggested Search Strategies:

  • [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.] Lincoln Assassination, Conspiracy Trial, President Lincoln Funeral,
  • It is important to use a specific date range if looking for articles for a particular event in order to narrow your results.
  • Be prepared to distinguish between the many articles that discuss the other major East River bridges (Manhattan, Queensboro, and Williamsburg) constructed between 1880 and 1910.

Sample Articles from Chronicling America:

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  August 8, 2016
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