Events

Timeline

1865

March 17 - Actor John Wilkes Booth stops by Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. to check his mail and learns that President Abraham Lincoln will be visiting the Campbell Hospital in town to entertain Union troops there. Booth gathers his team of conspirators--comprised of Lewis Powell, John Surratt, George Atzerodt, David Herold, Sam Arnold & Mike O'Laughlen--and they planned to kidnap Lincoln. However, Lincoln changed his plans at the last minute, leaving Booth and his men disheartened.

April 9 - General Robert E. Lee of the army of the Confederate States of America surrenders to General Ulysses S. Grant of the United States army at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, ending the American Civil War.

April 14 - At 9 p.m. Booth travels under the stage and exited through a side door that led out into a small alley. At about 10 p.m. Booth entered the saloon next door and ordered a drink. Then he left and went into the theater, ascended the stairs, and made his way to Presidential box. Booth opened the door to the box, shooting at Lincoln from a distance about 2 feet. The bullet struck the president's head and crashed into his skull. Booth jumped to the stage, breaking his ankle, and shouted "Sic semper tyrannis" (the Virginia state motto meaning "Thus always to tyrants"). He rode off from the rear of the theatre on horseback.

The president's body was taken across the street to the home of William Petersen to be attended to. Many of his cabinet were at his side at would be his deathbed. Mary Lincoln could not bear to be in the room. [Click here to see Booth's route through Ford's Theatre. You will need the Macromedia Flash player.]

April 15 - Abraham Lincoln is pronounced dead at 7:22 a.m.

Booth travels to Dr. Samuel Mudd's home in Maryland to receive treatment for his leg.

April 26 - Booth and co-conspirator Herold are captured in a barn near Bowling Green, Virginia. While Herold gives himself up, Booth remains in the barn where he is shot and killed by Corporal Boston Corbett.

May 4 - Lincoln's body is laid to rest in a Springfield, Illinois cemetery.

May 10 - Samuel Arnold, George Atzerodt, David Herold, Dr. Samuel Mudd, Michael O'Laughlin, Lewis Powell, Edman Spangler, and Mary Surratt are put on trial by an Army Military Commission for their involvement in the assassination conspiracy.

July 7 - Atzerodt, Herold, Powell, and Suratt are all executed by hanging at the Old Penitentiary in Washington, D.C.

reward poster of the conspirators, photo: Library of Congress (www.loc.gov)