Friday, April 14, 2006

"...and now he belongs to the ages."

These are very fitting words to sum of the life of a great man who was wounded on this date in 1865. Abraham Lincoln would die on April 15, 1865 but most people remember the date of April 14th as the date of one of most dreadful acts in American history. Instead of giving an overview of a story that has been told for over a hundred years I wanted to present a series of photographs that some people may not be familiar with to celebrate this infamous day.

This photograph is of the Brothers Booth. From left to right, you have John Wilkes ( sans mustache ), Edwin and Junius Jr. dressed in character from the play Julius Caesar. The Booth's have been recognized as the one of the first family dynasty of actors in the United States, comparable to the Baldwin family of today, although the Booth's reputation for acting prowess far outdistances the Baldwin family. Edwin would become of America's greatest gifts to the stage despite the stigma of what his brother did on April 14th. A little known fact about Edwin is that later in life he prevented a man from falling into a path of a train while the gentleman was standing on a platform waiting for that train. The man you ask. Abraham Lincoln's son Robert, who later served as Secretary of War under President Garfield.

A photograph of Robert Lincoln later in life.

The original playbill that announced Lincoln's visit to Ford's Theater on April 14th. Could this be the actual playbill that Booth read early in the day that spurred him to hasten his plan to assassinate Lincoln?

Next is a series of pictures showing the bedroom that Lincoln died. The photograph of the bed taken at the top was taken minutes after Lincoln's body was removed from the room. You can still see the bloodsoaked pillow and daylight as morning was breaking in a stunned Washington. After this photo was taken, much of the room and its contents were ransacked by army officers and goverment officials hoping to collect items as "souvneirs". The last two pictures are of the same room during present day. Much or all of the furniture is reproductions of the original items. As you enter Petersen House, which is a fine home in its own right, you walk straight down the hallway to get to this back room. As everybody as always seen portraits of this night, you remember that the room was always depicted of being crowded of goverment officials and Lincoln's family. As you can see in the photographs, three people make a crowd in this room. On top of that, the bed was pulled away from the wall while Lincoln was lying there which made the room even more cramped. That was the most striking thing I noticed about the room when I visited it. I was lucky to have seen the original death pillow as well that was enclosed in a glass case on the bed. It has since been removed. You could still see blood stains. A very moving sight.

Hopefully soon, I will pick up again with bios on the conspirators I haven't talked about yet, George Atzerodt and Mary and John Surratt.

Post a Comment

<< Home