Can you identify the errors in this Lincoln assassination account?

Lincoln by Charles Alfred Barry


A few years ago I intentionally created a Lincoln assassination account filled errors to use at my Lincoln presentations to various groups.  It serves to “break the ice” with crowds and is a lot of fun to boot-plus its educational.  Go ahead and try your knowledge from the account below-and good luck!


On the evening of April 13, 1865, President and Mrs. Lincoln with two guests-General Rathbone and Miss Clara Harris- attended the evening performance of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater.  They arrived at the theater late on that Good Friday.  However, President Lincoln was warmly welcomed by all as he and his party took their seats in Box # 6-which had been specially prepared for their attendance.  Tad Lincoln, Abraham and Mary’s son- was also with them in the box.  Tad Lincoln had also gone with his father recently into the newly fallen Richmond-so his presence that evening was not unusual.

The Lincolns were enjoying the performance.  Without their knowledge, Edwin Stanton had relieved the scheduled policeman John Parker from his assignment to guard the president that evening-leaving him unprotected. At about 10:00pm, the actor John Wilkes Booth made his approach towards the presidential box with a plan to capture Lincoln. Before entering the area to the box, Booth had a brief pause with Charles Forbes-the footman for Lincoln. Forbes was seated not far from the door leading into the box area.

Once hidden inside the inner hallway outside the box, Booth changed his mind. He decided to shoot Abraham Lincoln. He carefully loaded his revolver and waited for the right moment. At approximately 10:15pm, Booth entered the box and fired two shots at him. The first shot missed. The second shot hit Lincoln in the back of the neck.  Lincoln died instantly. Booth leaped out of the box onto the stage-escaping out of the theater into the night. Booth was killed two months later.


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10 Responses to “Can you identify the errors in this Lincoln assassination account?”

  1. B. Nash says:

    Of course!

  2. Roger Norton says:

    Rathbone was not a general.

  3. B. Nash says:


  4. LL says:

    Oh! And it was April 14, not 13!

  5. LL says:

    1. Tad wasn’t at Ford’s 2. Stanton didn’t relieve anyone 3. Booth had already decided on assassination rather than capture (and earlier plan) 4. The derringer was already loaded 5. He fired one shot (his derringer would have had to be reloaded to fire again) 5. The one and only shot hit Lincoln behind the left ear 6. Lincoln lived till just past 7 the next morning 7. Booth was killed 12 days later

  6. B. Nash says:

    Thanks Roger! I beleive you’re are correct.

  7. Roger Norton says:

    I think the Lincolns were sitting in Box 7, but probably entered through Box 8. Assassination expert Mike Kauffman makes a strong case that the presidential party entered through Box 8.

  8. B. Nash says:

    Great start-but there’s more!

  9. kris says:

    1) Tad didn’t attend the theater with his parents. He was at another theater. 2) Lincoln did not die instantly but lived in a coma for approximately nine hours. 3) After Parker left for the tavern to drink with Lincoln’s coachman and footman at intermission, Lincoln was left unprotected. 4) Booth did not meet Forbes outside the box. He did meet navy surgeon Dr. Todd.

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