Gleanings from “The President is Shot!” by Harold Holzer
SAID: “I cannot bring myself to believe that any human being lives who would do me any harm.” – spoken to General Edward H. Ripley April 5, 1865, nine days before his assassination.
REGRETTED: Having traveled through Baltimore in 1861 en route to Washington in disguise (due to assassination fears). The press and others lampooned him for the action questioning his leadership ability and courage.
ATTENDED: At least ten performances at Ford’s Theater while he was president. He saw one play called The Marble Heart starring the well-known actor John Wilkes Booth.
GAVE HIS LAST SPEECH: April 11, 1865 from a window of the White House. He spoke about, among other things, voting rights for African-Americans. John Wilkes Booth was present in the crowd below. “That will be the last speech he will ever make” he told friend Lewis Powell.
APPEARED: Like “a hugh skeleton in clothes” according to one friend of Lincoln commenting on the president’s physical appearance (by 1865-after four years of war).
CARRIED: In his pockets the night of April 14, 1865-a pocketknife, two pairs of glasses, his wallet, a handkerchief, some newspaper clippings, and a Confederate five-dollar bill.
LAUGHED: As he watched the comedy Our American Cousin. Every so often the players added Lincoln’s name into the script causing people, including the president, to smile and laugh.
DIED: At 7:22am, April 15, 1865. Pastor Gurley, present at the death bed prayed: “God, please accept this good man, Abraham Lincoln, into the kingdom of heaven.” Everyone in the room whispered, “Amen.”
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