Ten Fascinating Things We Bet You Didn't Know About Abraham Lincoln’sAssassination
Lincoln was shot in the back of the head by John Wilkes Booth at the Ford’s Theatre in 1864. Many say that Lincoln was not even going to attend the play. After General Ulysses Grant cancelled his plan, Lincoln felt obliged to go. How different history would have been if Lincoln had aborted his plans. There are many questions and theories attached to Lincoln’s assassination. Why did Grant cancel his plan and why wasn’t Lincoln’s bodyguard not present near the box? Read on to find out many more such unknown facts about his assassination.
Before you go on the next page, here is a bonus fact: Tom Hanks is a third cousin through Lincoln’s mother, Nancy Hanks. Also, Tom Hanks narrated the 2013 movie “Killing Lincoln”.
A larger plot to decapitate the government
April 14, 1864, could have turned even more sinister if Booth’s initial plans had worked. The plan was to assassinate two other prominent members of the Lincoln administration – Secretary of State William Seward and Vice President Andrew Johnson. Assassin George Atzerodt who was given the task to eliminate Johnson backed out of the plan as he got drunk and passed out that night. The other assassins Lewis Powell managed to barge into Seward’s bedroom and stab him and his sons, Seward survived the attack.
Ulysses S. Grant Turned Down Lincoln’s Theatre Invitation
Civil War hero Ulysses S. Grant and his wife Julia were invited by the Lincolns to attend the theatre that fateful night. However, The Grant turned down the invitation and thus, Ulysses escaped the attack. It is said that even Booth believed that Grant would be present with Lincoln in the presidential box.
The First Woman Executed By The US Government
Mary Surratt became the first woman who was executed by the United States government. However, the involvement in Lincoln’s assassination plot remains unclear and hasn’t been proved. She ran a boarding house and her son John Surratt often called his friends, including Booth at the boarding house. It wasn’t clear if Mary knew about the plan, but she was arrested, found guilty and hanged on July 7, 1865.
Lives of the Other Guests Ended In a Tragedy As Well
On the night of Lincoln’s assassination, Booth also slashed Rathbone’s left arm. It is said that although Rathbone recovered from the wounds, he never actually recovered from the trauma of the night. After his marriage to Harris, he started suffering from the post-traumatic stress disorder. In 1883, two days before Christmas, he shot and stabbed his wife and then stabbed himself repeatedly. He again survived the knife wounds but spent the remaining time of his life in an asylum. Mary Todd Lincoln too was institutionalized in 1875.
Booth Broke his Leg While Fleeing The Spot
After successfully carrying out his assassination plan, Booth leapt to the stage of the theatre shouting something at the crowd before he fled the theatre. But while jumping down the stage, he fractured his ankle and saw a doctor named Samuel Mudd in Maryland. Mudd set his broken leg and did not even report to the authorities. Mudd was later arrested and sent to prison.
No Bodyguards at the Doors of the Presidential Box
Police officer John Frederick Parker was assigned the duty to protect Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre. But unfortunately, when Lincoln, his wife and the other guests settled in their box, Parker left the theatre during the intermission to get some drinks. Taking advantage of this situation, Booth walked straight into the presidential box without the fear of being stopped.
Lincoln’s deathbed became a tourist attraction
After Lincoln fell unconscious, his body was taken to a nearby boarding house across the street for examination. The place belonged to a German immigrant William Petersen. After the President breathed his last, many souvenir hunters started ransacking Petersen’s property. Seeing an opportunity to make some money, Petersen started charging the curiosity seekers to came by to see the president’s deathbed.
The Initial Plan Was To Kidnap Lincoln
During the trial of the conspirators, they claimed that they did not agree to get involved in the plot to murder Lincoln, their original plan was just to kidnap him. They said that they had planned to kidnap Lincoln and handover him to the Confederate Army so that they could use him as a hostage.
Lincoln May Have Had A Premonition He Would Die
One of Lincoln’s friends, Ward Hill Lamon, who wrote in a memoir that Lincoln had told him about having a very disturbing dream where he saw his own dead body lying on a table. Even Lincoln’s bodyguard insisted that the president used to repeatedly dream about his own death. No one knows how true these stories are.
A Huge Manhunt Was Launched For John Wilkes Booth
After accomplishing his plan, Booth fled the theatre quickly and soon was out of Washington, DC. A huge manhunt was launched for Booth and finally, on April 26, 1865, he was found hiding in a barn at a farm in Virginia. When he refused to surrender, the Union troops shot him down and burnt the barn to the ground.
We bet your History books did not tell you these facts hidden behind Lincoln’s assassination.
Sources: courant.com, thejuicyreport.com, padresteve.com, time.com, gordonbelray.com, aceshowbiz.com, vanityfair.com, ranker.com, surrattmuseum.org, newsweek.com, theverge.com