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Collection Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress



Assassination of President Abraham Lincoln

  1. 1865, March 17

    A plot hatched by John Wilkes Booth to kidnap President Lincoln is aborted when the president fails to make a scheduled trip to a soldiers' hospital. The possibility of political assassination increasingly enters the mind of the bitter and restless Booth.

  2. 1865, April 14

    While attending an evening performance of "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theatre, the President is shot by John Wilkes Booth . After a medical examination by Dr. Charles Leale, Lincoln's body is carried to a bedroom in the nearby Petersen House. Booth and his accomplice David Herold escape Washington into southern Maryland.

    Confined to a sickbed at his home on Lafayette Square, Secretary of State William H. Seward is nearly killed from a vicious knife attack administered by co-conspirator Lewis Powell (alias Lewis Paine, Lewis Payne). George Atzerodt fails to follow through on a plan to assassinate Vice President Andrew Johnson at the Kirkwood House hotel.

  3. 1865, April 15

    President Lincoln dies at 7:22 a.m. At his bedside, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton remarks, "Now he belongs to the ages."

    Having broken his right fibula while jumping to the stage at Ford's Theatre, Booth stops at the house of Dr. Samuel Mudd near Bryantown, Maryland, to have his leg splinted and bandaged.

  4. 1865, April 21

    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.

  5. 1865, April 26

    Booth and Herold are apprehended in a tobacco barn near Bowling Green, Virginia, by a cavalry detachment under the command of Lieutenant Edward Doherty. After Herold gives himself up, Booth is shot and killed by Corporal Boston Corbett.

  6. 1865, May 4

    Abraham Lincoln's body is finally laid to rest in a receiving vault at Springfield's Oak Ridge Cemetery.

  7. 1865, May 10

    An army military commission is convened to try Mrs. Mary Surratt, David Herold, Lewis Powell, 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, Powell, and Atzerodt will eventually be given the death penalty, while the remaining defendants are sentenced to imprisonment.

  8. 1865, July 7

    George Atzerodt, David Herold, Lewis Powell, and Mary Surratt are executed by hanging at the Old Penitentiary in Washington, for their part in the assassination conspiracy.