Saturday, April 15, 2017

April 15, 1865: Now he belongs to the ages



Most of us associate April 15th with Tax Day. Yet, April 15th is one of the saddest days of US history.      

On Friday, April 14th, President and Mrs. Lincoln, accompanied by Clara Harris and Maj. Henry R. Rathbone, entered Ford’s Theatre for the performance of “Our American Cousin” featuring Laura Keene.   It was a popular comedy of its time.   By all accounts, the President was in good spirits and ready for a night of relaxation.

Otto Eisenschiml wrote that the shots were fired at around 10:15 pm.  (In the Shadow of Lincoln’s Death (New York: Funk, 1940),
Shortly after, the wounded President was moved across the street to the house of William Petersen at 453 10th St. NW.    He was placed in a small room at the rear of hall on the first floor.
Mrs. Lincoln and the surgeons stayed with the President all night.    VP  Johnson dropped in for a visit around 2 am.
Dr. Charles S. Taft observed that the President stopped breathing “at 7:21 and 55 seconds in the morning of April 15th, and 7:22 and 10 seconds his pulse ceased to beat.”  (Eisenschiml)
After some silence, Secretary .Stanton said:   “Now he belongs to the ages“.
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