The Lincoln Assassination Conspiracy: New York Herald April 15, 1865



The President Shot at the
Theatre Last Evening


Carence and Frederick Seward
Badly Hurt.


Intense Excitement in Washington

Scene at the Deathbed of
Mr. Lincoln.

J. Wilkes Booth, the Actor, the alleged
Assassin of the President


War Department
Major General Dix, New York:                          Washing-ton, April 15-1:30 A.M.
     This evening at about 9:30 P.M., at Ford's Theatre, the President, while sitting in the private box with Mrs. Lincoln, Mrs.  Harris and Major Rathburn, was shot by an assassin, who suddenly entered the box and approached behind the President. 
     The assassin then leaped upon the stage brandishing a large dagger or knife, and made his escape in the rear of the theatre. 
     The pistol ball entered the back of the President's head and penetrated nearly through the head.   The wound is mortal. 
     The President has been insensible ever since it was inflicted, and is now dying. 
     About the same hour an assassin, whether the same or not, entered Mr. Seward's apartments, and under pretense of having a prescription was shown to the secretary's sick chamber.  The assassin immediately rushed to the bed and inflicted two or three stabs on the throat and two in the face. 
     It is hoped the wounds may not be mortal.  My apprehension is that they will prove fatal. 
     The nurse alarmed Mr. Frederick Seward, who was in an adjoining room, and he hastened to the door of his father's room, when he met the assassin, who inflicted upon him one or more dangerous wounds.  The recovery of Frederick Seward is doubtful. 
     It is not probable that the President will live through the night. 
     General Grant and wife were advertised to be at the theatre this evening, but he started to Burlington at six o'clock this evening. 
     At a Cabinet meeting, at which General Grant was present, the subject of the state of the country and the prospect of a speedy peace were discussed.   The President was very cheerful and hopeful, and spoke very kindly of General Lee and other of the confederacy, and of the establishment of government in Virginia. 
     All the members of the Cabinet except Seward, are now in attendance upon the President. 
     I have seen Mr. Seward, but he and Frederick were both unconscious.

Washington, April 14, 1865

Assassination has been inaugurated in Washington.  The bowie knife and pistol have been applied to President Lincoln and Secretary Seward.  The former was shot in the throat, while at Ford's theatre to-night.  Mr. Seward was badly cut about the neck, while in his bed-at his residence.

Washington, April 14, 1865

An attempt was made about ten o'clock this evening to assassinate the President and Secretary Seward.  the President was shot at Ford's Theatre.  Result not yet known.  Mr. Seward's throat was cut, and his son badly wounded.
     There is intense excitement here.

Details of the Assassination

Washington, April 14, 1865
     Washington was thrown into an intense excitement a few minutes before eleven o'clock this evening, by the announcement that the President and Secretary Seward had been assassinated and were dead.
     The wildest excitement prevailed in all parts of the city.  Men, women and children, old and young, rushed to and fro and  the rumors were magnified until we had nearly every  member of  the Cabinet killed.  Some time elapsed before authenic data could be ascertained in regard to the affair.
    The President and Mrs. Lincoln were at  Ford's theatre, listening to the performance of  the American Cousin, occupying a box in the second tier.  At the close of the third act a person entered the box occupied by the President, and shot Mr. Lincoln in the head.   The shot entered the back of his head, and came out above the temple.
     The assassin then jumped for the box upon the stage and ran across to the other side, exhibiting a dagger in his hand, 
flourishing it a tragical manner, shouting the same words repeated by the desperado  at Mr. Seward's house, adding to it, "The South is revenged," and then escaped from the back entrance to the stage, but in his passage dropped his pistol and his hat. Mr. Lincoln fell foward from this seat, and Mrs. Lincoln fainted.
     The moment the astonished audience could realize what had happened, the President was 
taken  and carried to Mr. Peterson's house, on Tenth street, opposite to the theatre.  Medical aid was immediately sent for, and the wound was at first said to be fatal. The President is still alive, but in precarions condition. 
     As the assassin ran across the stage, Colonel J.B. Stewart, of the city, who was occupying one of the front seats in the orchestra, on the [?] side of the house as the box occupied by Mr. Lincoln, sprang to the stage and followed him; but he was obstructed in his passage across the stage by the flight of the actors, and reached the back door about three seconds after the assassin had passed out.  Colonel Stewart got to the street just in time to see him mount his horse and ride away. 
        The operation showed  that  the whole thing was a preconcerted plan.  The person who fired the pistol was a man about thirty years of age, about five feet nine, spare built, fair skin, dark  hair apparently bushy, with a large mustache. Laura[...]the leader of the orchestra declare that they recognized him as J. Wilkes Booth the actor and secessionist. Whoever he was, it is plainly evident that he thoroughly understood the theatre and all the approaches and modes of escape to the stage.  A person not familiar with  the theatre could not have possibly made his escape [?] quickly. 
     The alarm was  [?] in [...].  Mr. Stanton was [...] All the other [...] escaped attack. 
       Cavalrymen were [sent?] out to all directions, and   dispatches sent to all the fortifications, and it is thought   they will be captured. 
       About half-past ten o'clock this evening a tall, well   dressed man made his appearance at Secertary Sewards's   residence and [applied?] for admission. He was refused   admssion by the servant when [the desparado?] stated that   he had a prescription  from the Surgeon General, and  that   he was ordered  to deliver it in person.  He was still refused   except upon the written orders of the Physician. This he   pretended to show, and pushed by the servant and rushed   up to Mr. Seward's room.  He was met at the door by Fred   Seward, who notified him that he was master of house and   would take charge of the [...] bed,  and struck him in the   neck with a dagger, and also in the breast. 
       It was supposed at first that Mr. Seward was killed   instantly, but it was found afterwards that the wound   was not mortal. 
       Major Wm. B. Seward, Jr., paymaster, was in the room,  and rushed to the defence of his father, and was badly cut  in the [?] with the assassin, but not fatally. 
       The desparado managed to  escape from the house, and  was prepared for escape by having a horse at the door.  He immediately mounted the horse, and sung out the motto of   the State of Virginia, "Sic Semper Tyrannis!" and rode off. 
       Surgean General Barnes was immediatley sent for, and he  examined Mr. Seward and  pronounced him safe.  His wounds  were not fatal.  the jugular vein was not cut, nor the wound  to the breast deep enough to be fatal. 

 Washington, April 15-1 A.M.

       The streets in the vicinity of Ford's Theatre are densely crowded by an anxious and excited crowd.  A guard has been placed across Tenth street and F and E streets, and   only official persons and particular friends of the President   are allowed to pass. 
       The popular heart is deeply stirred, and the deepest  indignation against leading rebels is freely expressed. 
       The scene at the house where the President lies in extremis is very affecting.  Even Secretary Stanton is affected to tears. 
       When the news spread throught the city that the President had been shot, the people, with pale faces and compressed lips, crowded every place where there was the slighest chance of obtaining information in requard to the affair. 
       After the President was shot, Lieutenant Rathbun, caught the assassin by the arm, who immediately struck him with a knife, and jumped from the box, as before stated. 
       The popular affection for Mr. Lincoln has been shown by this diabolical assassination, which will bring eternal infamy, not only [...] upon the hellish cause which they desired to avenge. 
       Vice President Johnson arrived at the White House, where the President lies, about one o'clock, and will remain with him to the last. The President's family are in attendance upon him also. 
        As soon as intelligence could be got to the War Department, the electric telegraph and the Signal corps were put in requisition to endeavor to prevent the escape of the assassins, and all the troops around Washington are under arms. 
       Popular report points to a somewhat celebrated actor of  known secession proclivities as the assassin; but it would be unjust to name him until some further evidence of his guilt is obtained.  It is rumored that the person alluded to is  in custody.
       The latest advices from Secretary Seward reveals more desperate work there than at first supposed.  Seward's wounds are not in themselves fatal, but in connection with his recent injuries, and the great loss of blood he has sustained, his recovery in questionable. 
       It was Clarence A. Seward, instead of Wm. H. Seward, Jr., who was wounded.  Fred Seward was also badly cut, as were also three nurses, who were in attendance upon the Secretary, showing that a desperate struggle took place  there.  The wounds of the whole party were dressed. 

                                                                                   One o'Clock A.M.
       The President is perfectly senseless, and there is not the slightest hope of his surviving.  Physicians believe that he will die before morning.  All of his Cabinet, except Secretary  Seward are with him.  Speaker Colfax, Senator Farwell, of Maine, and many other gentlemen, are also at the house awaiting the termination.  The scene at the President's bedside is described by those who witnessed it as most affecting.  He was surrounded by his Cabinet ministers, all of whom  were bathed in tears, not even excepting Mr. Stanson, who when informed by Surgeon General  Barnes, that the President would not live until morning, exclaimed "Oh, no, General, no-no," and with an impulse natural as it was unaffected, immediately sat down on a chair near his bedside and  wept like a child.   
       Senator Sumner was seated on the right of the President's couch, near the head, holding the right hand of the President in his own.  He was sobbing like a woman, with his head bowed down almost onthe pillow of the bed on which the President was lying.   

   Two o'Clock A.M.

       The President is still alive, but there is no improvement in his condition.    

 Washington, April 15--12:30 A.M.

       The President was shot in the theatre to-night, and is perhaps mortally wounded.        

Additional Details of the Assassination
 Washington, April 15--1:30 A.M.

       President Lincoln and wife, with other friends this evening visited Ford's theatre, for the purpose of 
witnessing the performance of the American Cousin. 
       It was announced in the papers that General Grant would also be presented; but the gentleman took the late train of cars for New Jersey.  
        The Theatre was densely crowded, and all seemed delighted with the scene before them.  During the third act, and while there was a temporary pause for one of the actors

 to enter, a sharp report of a pistol was heard, which merely attracted attention, but suggested nothing serious, until a man rushed to the front of the President's box, waving a long dagger in his right hand, and exclaiming, "Sic semper tyrannis" and immediately leaped from the box, which was in the second tier, to the stage beneath, and ran across to the opposite side, making his escape, amid the  bewilderment of the audience from the rear of the theatre and mounting a horse, fled. 
       The screams of Mrs. Lincoln  first disclosed the fact to the audience that the President had been shot, when all present rose
to their feet, rushing towards the stage, many exclaiming "Hang
him! Hang him!" The excitement was of the wildest possible description, and of course there was an abrupt termination of the theatrical performance.   
       There was a rush towards the President's box, when cries were
heard:-"Stand back and give him air."  "Has any one stimulants?"  
On a hasty examination it was found that the President had been shot through the head, above and back of the temporal bone, and that some of the brain was oozing out.    
        He was removed to a private home opposite to the theatre
and a surgeon sent for to attend to his condition.  On an examination of the private box blood was discovered on the back of the cushioned rocking chair on which the President had been sitting, also on the partition and on the floor.   A
common single barreled pocket pistol was found on the carpet.   
         A military guard  was placed in front  of the private residence to
which the President had been conveyed.  An immense crowd was in front of it, all deeply anxious to learn the condition of the President.  It had been previously announced that the wound was mortal, but all hoped otherwise.  The shock to the community was terrible.   
         At midnight the Cabinet, with Messers Sumner, Colfax and         Fransworth, Judge Curtis, Governor Oglesby, General Meigs, Colonel Hay, and a few personal friends, with Surgeon General
         Barnes and his immediate assistants were around his bedside.  The President  was in a state of syncope, totally insensible, and
breathing slowly.  The blood oozed from the wound at the back of
his head.   
         The Surgeons exhausted every possible effort of medical skill; but all hope was gone. The parting of his family with the dying President is too sad for description.  
        The President and Mrs. Lincoln did not start for the theatre until fifteen minutes after eight o'clock.  Speaker Colfax was at the White House at time and the President stated to him that he was going,  Mrs. Lincoln had not been well, because the papers had announced that General Grant and they were to be present and as General Grant had gone North,  he did not wish the  audience to be disappointed.     
       He went with apparent reluctance and urged Mr. Colfax to go with him, but the gentleman had made other engagements and, with Mr. Ashman, of Massachusetts, bid him goodby.  
       When the excitement at the theatre was at its wildest height reports were circulated that Secretary Seward had also been assassinated.   
       On reaching this gentleman's residence a crowd and a military guard were found at the door, and on entering it was ascertained that the reports were based on truth. 
       Everybody there was so excited that scarcely an intelligible word could be gathered.  But the Facts are substantially as follows:-  
       About ten o'clock a man rang the bell, and the call having been answered by a colored servant, he said he had come from Dr. Verdi, Secretary Seward's family  physician, with a prescription, at the same time holding in his hand a small piece of folded paper, and saying, in answer to a refusal, that he must see the Secretary, as he was entrusted with particular directions concerning the medicine.  
      He still insisted on going up, although repeatedly informed that no one could enter the chamber.   The man pushed the servant aside, and walked hastily towards the Secretary's room, and was then met by Mr. Frederick Seward, of whom he demanded to see the Secretary making the same representation which he did to the servant.   
       What further passed in the way of colloquy is not known; but the man struck him on the head with a billy, severely injuring the skull and felling him almost senseless.  
       The assassin then rushed into the chamber and attacked Major Seward, Paymaster United States Army, and Mr. Hansell, a messenger of the State Department, and two male nurses, disabling them all.  
       He then rushed upon the Secretary, who was lying in bed in the same room, and inflicted three stabs in the neck, but serving, it is thought and hoped, no arteries,  though he bleed profusely.
       The assassin then rushed down the stairs, ran out the door, mounted his horse, and rode off before a alarm could be sounded and in he same manner as the assassin of  the President.  
        It is believed that the injuries of the Secretary are  not fatal, nor those of either of the others, although both the Secretary and the Assistant Secretary are very seriously injured.  
         Secretary Stanten and Welles, and other prominent officers of the Government, called at Secretary Seward's resident to inquire into his
condition and there heard of the assassination of the President.   
         They then proceeded to the house where he was lying, exhibiting of course intense anxiety and solicitude.   
           An immense crowd was gathering in front of the     President's house, and a strong guard was also stationed there. Many persons evidently supposing he would be brought to his home.   
           The entire city to-night presents a scene of wild excitement accompanied by [violent?], expression of  indignation and profoundest sorrow, many shed
           The military authorities have despatched mounted patrols in every direction, it order if possible to arrest the assassins.  The whole metropolitan police are likewise [?] for the same purpose.   
           [....]both at the theatre and at Secretary Seward's house took place at about the same hour-ten o'clock- thus showing a pre- concerted plan to assassinate
those gentlemen.  some evidence of the guilt of the party [] attacked the President are in the possession of the police.  
            Vice President Johnson is in the city, and his headquarters are guarded by troops.

Lincoln Assassination 
Conspiracy Trial Home