The Post-Assassination Visit to Ford’s Theater

Ford's Theater

Ford's Theater

During the trial of the Lincoln assassination conspirators-the first week, in fact-the military judges appointed to serve as the tribunal over the proceedings made a tour of Ford’s Theater:
Anthony S. Pitch, in his book: “They Have Killed Papa Dead” describes the event stating that they (the judges) went to “familiarize themselves with the layout and to examine every exit and entrance. Eerily, stage settings were still in place for the comedy that Lincoln had watched, with the conspicuous red-curtained recess in the center. But the green baize stage cloth had a foot-long tear, apparently where Booth had stumbled. Twelve feet above, the framed portrait of George Washington still hung in front of the presidential box, but the bloodstained rocking chair was gone.” They, of course, also walked the route that Booth took along the dress circle passageway through the doorway he entered to place himself just outside the box the Lincolns occupied.
That had to be a strange experience for those men. I wonder if any of them had been in attendance at the theater on the night of the assassination? At any rate, they were examining a crime scene-one that had not been secured by the military until two days after the shooting. Things had been removed (some stolen). Who moved Lincoln’s chair? And why? The theater had been the repository for so much entertainment-dramas and comedies and other crowd pleasers-and then became an empty lifeless building that stood as a testament to the horrible deed that had been committed there. I’m sure the judges were in awe- the silence of the place was roaring…
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