News of Abraham Lincoln's Death

[From page 1 of The New York Times, April 16, 1865]

Death of President Lincoln.

The Songs of Victory Drowned in Sorrow.
The Great Sorrow of an Afflicted Nation.
Party Differences Forgotten in Public Grief.
Vice-President Johnson Inaugurated as Chief Executive.
John Wilkes Booth Believed to be the Assassin.
Manifestations of the People Throughout the Country.

War Department, Washington,  
April 15--4:10 A.M.    

To Major-Gen. Dix:
     The President continues insensible and is sinking.
     Secretary Seward remains without change.
     Frederick Seward's skull is fractured in two places, besides a severe cut upon the head.
     The attendant is still alive, but hopeless. Maj. Seward's wound is not dangerous.
     It is now ascertained with reasonable certainty that two assassins were engaged in this horrible crime, Wilkes Booth being the one that shot the President, and the other companion of his whose name is not known, but whose description is so clear that he can hardly escape. It appears from a letter found in Booth's trunk that the murder was planned before the 4th of March, but fell through then because the accomplice backed out until "Richmond could be heard from." Booth and his accomplice were at the livery stable at six o'clock last evening, and there left with their horses about ten o'clock, or shortly before that hour.
     It would seem that they had for several days been seeking their chance, but for some unknown reason it was not carried into effect until last night.
     One of them has evidently made his way to Baltimore -- the other has not yet been traced.

Edwin M. Stanton      
Secretary of War.  

War Department, Washington, April 15.  

Major Gen. Dix:
     Abraham Lincoln died this morning at twenty-two minutes after seven o'clock.

Edwin M. Stanton      
Secretary of War.  

War Department,   
Washington, April 15 -- 3 P.M. 

Major Gen. Dix, New-York:
     Official notice of the death of the late President, Abraham Lincoln, was given by the heads of departments this morning to Andrew Johnson, Vice-President, upon whom the constitution devolved the office of President. Mr. Johnson, upon receiving this notice, appeared before the Hon. Salmon P. Chase, Chief Justice of the United States, and took the oath of office, as President of the United States, assumed its duties and functions. At 12 o'clock the President met the heads of departments in cabinet meeting, at the Treasury Building, and among other business the following was transacted:
     First -- The arrangements for the funeral of the late President were referred to the several Secretaries, as far as relates to their respective departments.
     Second -- William Hunter, Esq., was appointed Acting Secretary of State during the disability of Mr. Seward, and his son Frederick Seward, the Assistant Secretary.
     Third -- The President formally announced that he desired to retain the present Secretaries of departments of his Cabinet, and they would go on and discharge their respective duties in the same manner as before the deplorable event that had changed the head of the government.
     All business in the departments was suspended during the day.
     The surgeons report that the condition of Mr. Seward remains unchanged. He is doing well.
     No improvement in Mr. Frederick Seward.
     The murderers have not yet been apprehended.

Edwin M. Stanton      
Secretary of War.  


Additional Details of the Lamentable Event.

Washington, Saturday, April 15.  

     The assassin of President Lincoln left behind him his hat and a spur.
     The hat was picked up in the President's box and has been identified by parties to whom it has been shown as the one belonging to the suspected man, and accurately described as the one belonging to the suspected man by other parties, not allowed to see it before describing it.
     The spur was dropped upon the stage, and that also has been identified as the one procured at a stable where the same man hired a horse in the evening.
     Two gentlemen who went to the Secretary of War to apprize him of the attack on Mr. Lincoln met at the residence of the former a man muffled in a cloak, who, when accosted by them, hastened away.
     It had been Mr. Stanton's intention to accompany Mr. Lincoln to the theatre, and occupy the same box, but the press of business prevented.
     It therefore seems evident that the aim of the plotters was to paralyze the country by at once striking down the head, the heart and the arm of the country.
     As soon as the dreadful events were announced in the streets, Superintendent Richards, and his assistants, were at work to discover the assassin.
     In a few moments the telegraph had aroused the whole police force of the city.
     Maj. Wallach and several members of the City Government were soon on the spot and every precaution was taken to preserve order and quiet in the city.
     Every street in Washington was patrolled at the request of Mr. Richards.
     Gen. Augur sent horses to mount the police.
     Every road leading out of Washington was strongly picketed and every possible avenue of escape was thoroughly guarded.
     Steamboats about to depart down the Potomac were stopped.
     The Daily Chronicle says:
     "As it is suspected that this conspiracy originated in Maryland, the telegraph flashed the mournful news to Baltimore and all the cavalry was Immediately put upon active duty. Every road was picketed and every precaution taken to prevent the escape of the assassin. A preliminary examination was made by Messrs. Richards and his assistants. Several persons were called to testify and the evidence as elicited before an informal tribunal, and not under oath, was conclusive to this point. The murderer of President Lincoln was John Wilkes Booth. His hat was found in the private box, and identified by several persons who had seen him within the last two days, and the spur which he dropped by accident, after he jumped to the stage, was identified as one of those which he had obtained from the stable where he hired his horse.
     This man Booth has played more than once at Ford's Theatre, and is, of course, acquainted with its exits and entrances, and the facility with which he escaped behind the scenes is well understood.
     The person who assassinated Secretary Seward left behind him a slouched hat and an old rusty navy revolver. The chambers were broken low from the barrel, as if done by striking. The loads were drawn from the chambers, one being but a rough piece of lead, and the other being smaller than the chambers, wrapped in paper, as if to keep them from falling out.


Particulars of His Last Moments -- Record of His Condition Before Death -- His Death

Washington, Saturday, April 15 -- 11 o'clock A.M.  

     The Star extra says:
     "At 7:20 o'clock the President breathed his last, closing his eyes as if falling to sleep, and his countenance assuming an expression of perfect serenity. There were no indications of pain and it was not known that he was dead until the gradually decreasing respiration ceased altogether.
     Rev. Dr. Gurley, of the New-York avenue Presbyterian Church, immediately on it being ascertained that life was extinct, knelt at the bedside and offered an impressive prayer, which was responded to by all present.
     Dr. Gurley then proceeded to the front parlor, where Mrs. Lincoln, Capt. Robert Lincoln, Mrs. John Hay, the Private Secretary, and others, were waiting, where he again offered a prayer for the consolation of the family.
     The following minutes, taken by Dr. Abbott, show the condition of the late President throughout the night.

11 o'clock -- Pulse 44.
11:05 o'clock -- Pulse 45, and growing weaker.
11:10 o'clock -- Pulse 45.
11:15 o'clock -- Pulse 42.
11:20 o'clock -- Pulse 45; respiration 27 to 29.
11:26 o'clock -- Pulse 42.
11:32 o'clock -- Pulse 48 and full.
11:40 o'clock -- Pulse 45.
11:45 o'clock -- Pulse 45; respiration 22.
12 o'clock -- Pulse 48; respiration 22.
12:16 o'clock -- Pulse 48; respiration 21 -- echmot. both eyes.
12:30 o'clock -- Pulse 45.
12:32 o'clock -- Pulse 60.
12:35 o'clock -- Pulse 66.1.
12:40 o'clock -- Pulse 69;right eye much swollen and echmoses.
12:45 o'clock -- Pulse 70.
12:55 o'clock -- Pulse 80; struggling motion of arms.
1 o'clock -- Pulse 86; respiration 30.
1:30 o'clock -- Pulse 95; appearing easier.
1:45 o'clock -- Pulse 86 -- very quiet, respiration irregular.
Mrs. Lincoln present.
2:10 o'clock -- Mrs. Lincoln retired with Robert Lincoln to adjoining rooms.
2:30 o'clock -- President very quiet -- pulse 54 -- respiration 28.
2:52 o'clock -- Pulse 48 -- respiration 30.
3 o'clock -- Visited again by Mrs. Lincoln.
3:25 o'clock -- Respiration 24 and regular.
3:35 o'clock -- Prayer by Rev. Dr. Gurley.
4 o'clock -- Respiration 26 and regular.
4:15 o'clock -- Pulse 60 -- respiration 25.
5:50 o'clock -- Respiration 28 -- regular -- sleeping.
6 o'clock -- Pulse failing -- respiration 28.
6:30 o'clock -- Still failing and labored breathing.
7 o'clock -- Symptoms of immediate dissolution.
7:22 o'clock -- Death.
     Surrounding the death bed of the President were Secretaries Stanton, Welles, Usher, Attorney-General Speed, Postmaster-General Dennison, M.B. Field, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury; Judge Otto, Assistant Secretary of the Interior; Gen. Halleck, Gen. Meigs, Senator Sumner, R.F. Andrews, of New-York; Gen. Todd, of Dacotah; John Hay, Private Secretary; Gov. Oglesby, of Illinois; Gen Farnsworth, Mr. and Miss Kenney, Miss Harris, Capt. Robert Lincoln, son of the President, and Doctors E.W. Abbott, R.K. Stone, C.D. Gatch, Neal Hall, and Mr. Lieberman. Secretary McCulloch remained with the President until about 5 o'clock, and Chief Justice Chase, after several hours' attendance during the night, returned early this morning.
     Immediately after the President's death a Cabinet meeting was called by Secretary Stanton, and held in the room in which the corpse lay. Secretaries Stanton, Welles and Usher, Postmaster-General Dennison, and Attorney-General Speed, were present. The results of the conference are as yet unknown.

Removal of the Remains to the Executive Mansion -- Feeling in the City.

Washington, Saturday, April 15.  

     The President's body was removed from the private residence opposite Ford's Theatre to the executive mansion this morning at 9:30 o'clock. in a hearse, and wrapped in the American flag. It was escorted by a small guard of cavalry, Gen. Augur and other military officers following on foot.
     A dense crowd accompanied the remains to the White House, where a military guard excluded the crowd, allowing none but persons of the household and personal friends of the deceased to enter the premises, Senator Yates and Representative Farnsworth being among the number admitted.
     The body is being embalmed, with a view to its removal to Illinois.
     Flags over the department and throughout the city are at half-mast. Scarcely any business is being transacted anywhere either on private or public account.
     Our citizens, without any preconcert whatever, are draping their premises with festoons of mourning.
     The bells are tolling mournfully. All is the deepest gloom and sadness. Strong men weep in the streets. The grief is wide-spread and deep in strange contrast to the joy so lately manifested over our recent military victories.
     This is indeed a day of gloom.
     Reports that Mr. Frederick W. Seward, who was kindly assisting the nursing of Secretary Seward, received a stab in the back. The shoulder blade prevented the knife or dagger from penetrating into his body. The prospects are that he will recover.
     A report is circulated, repeated by almost everybody, that Booth was captured fifteen miles this side of Baltimore. If it be true, as asserted, that the War Department has received such information, it will doubtless be officially promulgated.
     The government departments are closed by order, and will be draped with the usual emblems of mourning.
     The roads leading to and from the city are guarded by the military, and the utmost circumspection is observed as to all attempting to enter or leave the city.


Washington, Saturday, April 15.  

     An autopsy was held this afternoon over the body of President Lincoln by Surgeon-General Barnes and Dr. Stone, assisted by other eminent medical men.
     The coffin is of mahogany, is covered with black cloth, and lined with lead, the latter also being covered white satin.
     A silver plate upon the coffin over the breast bears the following inscription:

Born July 12, 1809,
Died April 15, 1865.

     The remains have been embalmed.
     A few locks of hair were removed from the President's head for the family previous to the remains being placed in the coffin.


Circumstances Tending to the Inculpate G.H. Booth -- Description of his Confederate in the Crime.

Washington, Saturday, April 15.  

     There is no confirmation of the report that the murderer of the President has been arrested.
     Among the circumstances tending to fix a participation in the crime on Booth, were letters found in his trunk, one of which, apparently from a lady, supplicated him to desist from the perilous undertaking in which he was about to embark, as the time was inauspicious, the mine not yet being ready to be sprung.
     The Extra Intelligencer says: "From the evidence obtained it is rendered highly probable that the man who stabbed Mr. Seward and his sons, is John Surratt, of Prince George County, Maryland. The horse he rode was hired at Naylor's stable, on Fourteenth-street. Surratt is a young man, with light hair and goatee. His father is said to have been postmaster of Prince George County."
     About 11 o'clock last night two men crossed the Anacostia Bridge, one of whom gave his name as Booth, and the other as Smith. The latter is believed to be John Surratt.
     Last night a riderless horse was found, which has been identified by the proprietor of one of the stables previously mentioned as having been hired from his establishment.
     Accounts are conflicting as to whether Booth crossed the bridge on horseback or on foot; but as it is believed that he rode across it, it is presumed that he had exchanged his horse.
     From information in the possession of the authorities it is evident that the scope of the plot was intended to be much more comprehensive.
     The Vice-President and other prominent members of the Administration were particularly inquired for by suspected parties, and their precise localities accurately obtained; but providentially, in their cases, the scheme miscarried.
     A boat was at once sent down the Potomac to notify the gunboats on the river of the awful crime, in order that all possible means should be taken for the arrest of the perpetrators.
     The most ample precautions have been taken, and it is not believed the culprits will long succeed in evading the overtaking of justice.
     The second extra of the Evening Star says:
     "Col. Ingraham, Provost-Marshal of the defence north of the Potomac, is engaged in taking testimony to-day, all of which fixes the assassination upon H. Wilkes Booth.
     Judge Olin, of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, and Justice Miller, are also engaged to-day, at the Police Headquarters, on Tenth-street, in taking the testimony of a large number of witnesses.
     Lieut. Tyrell, of Col. Ingraham's staff, last night proceeded to the National Hotel, where Booth had been stopping, and took possession of his trunk, in which was found a Colonel's military dress-coat, two pairs of handcuffs, two boxes of cartridges and a package of letters, all of which are now in the possession of the military authorities.
     One of these letters, bearing the date of Hookstown, Md., seems to implicate Booth. The writer speaks of "the mysterious affair in which you are engaged," and urges Booth to proceed to Richmond, and ascertain the views of the authorities there upon the subject. The writer of the letter endeavors to persuade Booth from carrying his designs into execution at that time, for the reason, as the writer alleges, that the government had its suspicions aroused. The writer of the letter seems to have been implicated with Booth in "the mysterious affair" referred to, as he informs Booth in the letter that he would prefer to express his views verbally; and then goes on to say that he was out of money, had no clothes, and would be compelled to leave home, as his family were desirous that he should dissolve his connection with Booth. This letter is written on note paper, in a small, neat hand, and simply bears the signature of "Sam."
     At the Cabinet meeting yesterday, which lasted over two hours, the future policy of the government toward Virginia was discussed, the best feeling prevailed. It is stated that it was, determined to adopt a very liberal policy, as was recommended by the President. It is said that this meeting was the most harmonious held for over two years, the President exhibiting throughout that magnanimity and kindness of heart which has ever characterized his treatment of the rebellious States, and which has been so littly requited on their part.
     One of the members of the Cabinet remarked to a friend he met at the door, that "The government was to-day stronger than it had been for three years past."

Washington, Saturday, April 15 -- 3:30 P.M.  

     To-day no one is allowed to leave the city by rail conveyance, or on foot, and the issuing of passes from the Headquarters of the Department of Washington has been suspended by Gen. Augur.


Mr. Johnson Inaugurated as President.
The Oath Administered by Secretary Chase.
He Will Perform His Duties Trusting in God.

Washington, Saturday, April 15 -- 12 A.M.  

     Andrew Johnson was sworn into office as President of the United States by Chief-Justice Chase, to-day, at eleven o'clock.
     Secretary McCullough and Attorney-General Speed, and others were present.
     He remarked:
     "The duties are mine. I will perform them, trusting in God.


Washington, Saturday, April 15.  

     At an early hour this morning, Hon. Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War, sent an official communication to Hon. Andrew Johnson, Vice-President of the United States, that, in consequence of the sudden and unexpected death of the Chief Magistrate, his inauguration should take place as soon as possible, and requesting him to state the place and hour at which the ceremony should be performed.
     Mr. Johnson immediately replied that it would be agreeable to him to have the proceedings take place at his rooms in the Kirkwood House as soon as the arrangements could be perfected.
     Chief Justice Chase was informed of the fact and repaired to the appointed place in company with Secretary McCullough, of the Treasury Department, Attorney-General Speed, J.P. Blair, Sr., Hon. Montgomery Blair, Senators Foot of Vermont, Ramsay, of Minnesota, Yates, of Illinois, Stewart, of Nevada, Hale, of New-Hampshirre, and Gen. Farnsworth, of Illinois.
     At eleven o'clock the oath of office was administered by the Chief Justice of the United States, in his usual solemn and impressive manner.
     Mr. Johnson received the kind expressions of the gentlemen by whom he was surrounded in a manner which showed his earnest sense of the great responsibilities so suddenly devolved upon him, and made a brief speech, in which he said:
     "The duties of the office are mine. I will perform them. The consequences are with God. Gentlemen, I shall lean upon you. I feel that I shall need your support. I am deeply impressed with the solemnity of the occasion and the responsibility of the duties of the office I am assuming.
     Mr. Johnson appeared to be in remarkably good health, and has a high and realizing sense of the hopes that are centered upon him. His manner was solemn and dignified, and his whole bearing produced a most gratifying impression upon those who participated in the ceremonies.
     It is probable that during the day President Johnson will issue his first proclamation to the American People.
     It is expected, though nothing has been definitely determined upon, that the funeral of the late President Lincoln will take place on or about Thursday next. It is supposed that his remains will be temporarily deposited in the Congressional Cemetery.