April 14, 1865, The Mark of a Nation’s Tragedy: Inside the Mind of the Man Who Assassinated Our 16th President

8:15 a.m.

I woke on that fateful morning, unaware of the events about to unravel in the eve of that night. But I was irrevocably certain about one thing. I was infuriated. I was mad. Five days ago, the Union assured their victory over the Confederacy with Lee’s surrender. In fact, no longer were we a Confederacy. They have made fools out of us, and they do not care for southern desires. Are they blind?! Are they so blind to see that prevailing in the institution of slavery is what the foundation of our country is based upon? Our economy depends on them, and without those creatures from hell, we are without wealth, without power. I, John Wilkes Booth, will not surrender to such stupidity. To such insanity! What makes them think I shall heed to what they have planned for us? Who cares for their thoughts? They have killed our utmost beliefs, murdered our morale! I will go to all ends to get what I want, and to avenge the south. To avenge the south.

~~~

11:45 a.m.

Approaching the Ford’s Theater a few hours later, wonderful news struck my ears. Perhaps fate was by my side?

No, not at all. If it was, then it would’ve let the South won that impudent war. How the hell did we even let them take control over us?

I hastily scrambled to retrieve my mail from the venue, seeing as I had a permanent mailbox there. I was an actor who spent countless nights performing shows for packed audiences. It was my passion, but once the Civil War had made its way into our lives, I had grown to be passionate towards another cause- defeating the North. Defeating all of their dreams, and all of their hope. That’s how it should have been and that’s how it should have ended.

The brother of John Ford, the owner of the theater, had greeted me and we had made small talk. It was a casual conversation, merely insignificant, until however, he told me of the President’s plans alongside Grant to attend the theater that night to enjoy Our American Cousin. Ha, to probably enjoy their victory. Those prideful, incompetent fools.

Suddenly, an idea came upon me, a miracle present amongst the misfortune that had come my way! For a couple months now, I have been devising a plan to kidnap Lincoln and hold him hostage, and perhaps even torture his wretched soul. It was a master work in the making but oh, how this great opportunity presented itself in front of me. What were the chances that Lincoln would be here on this night and I were to hear of the news?

Although…how would I kidnap him?

Oh yes, oh yes. I know the kinks and screws of the Ford’s Theater. This could work. It had to. It’s the only way.

…Why don’t I just murder the damn imbecile?

~~~

9:30 p.m.

There was a light drizzle as I made my way into The Star Saloon. I had seen the President’s carriage parked on 10th St, on my travel over here. The show had started and somewhere in the theater, Lincoln was having a jolly good time with his company.

Not for long. I assigned Lewis Powell to kill Secretary of State William H. Seward and George Atzerodt to kill Vice President Andrew Johnson. As for me, I would take care of Lincoln and Grant, what is supposed to be a man’s work.

I told Peter to get me a shot of whisky. I was feeling a little lucky, more than what my usual order of brandy offered me. I smiled.

As Peter handed me my charmer, I asked him, “Do you plan on seeing the show tonight? You ought to. You will see some damn fine acting!”

With that, I made my way out of the saloon and into the theater.

9:45 p.m.

I handed my ticket to John Buckingham and went up the stairs to the dress circle. I entered the auditorium and instantly recognized the stage dialogue. I knew it by heart.

And in a couple of minutes, during Act 3 and Scene 2, where there was certain to be laughter during the sound of the destined gunshot, there would be one actor left alone on stage and it would be my cue.

10:10 p.m.

Slowly, I made my way into the State Box. This was where Lincoln was along with his presidential party. It was almost time.

10:15 p.m.

I opened the door and creeped into the box. I barricaded the door with a wooden stick and looked into the peephole. No bodyguard was present. After turning around, the back of Lincoln’s head was right there in front of me.

And then the scene came.

In one swift movement, I drew my pistol, aimed it at Lincoln’s skull, and fired.

Major Henry Rathbone, out of pure reaction, jumped out of his seat and attempted to grapple me, making me drop my pistol. Consequently, I instantly drew my knife and stabbed Rathbone in his left forearm. It was all a blur.

In the corner of my eye, I saw Lincoln slump in his seat. Victory.

And next thing I knew, I threw myself over the balustrade. As soon as I landed, I felt a snap in my left foot. Aghhhhhhhhhhhh. 

I heard a girlish scream from where I left, knowing all too well it was Lincoln’s wife. Promptly, I raised myself up and limped across the stage. What a glorious feeling.

I raised the knife over my head, partially blinded by the light, and cried, “Sic semper tyrannis!”

Yes, yes, truly is the South avenged.

As I saw the slightest hint of a figure chase after me, I quickly escaped into the back door of the theater and headed to where my horse was waiting for me, riding away into the night.

Sources:

http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/terrorists_spies/assassins/booth/10.html

http://rogerjnorton.com/Lincoln75.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_Abraham_Lincoln

Image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Assassination_of_President_Lincoln_-_Currier_and_Ives_2.png

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