tv Killing Lincoln FOX News December 30, 2014 6:00pm-8:01pm PST
13th, 1865, john wilkes booth initiates his plan not the only kill abraham lincoln, but to decapitate the government of the united states. a civil war that has lasted four years is drawing to an end. while washington city celebrates the surrender of robert e. lee's confederate army, booth and his co-conspirators plot a carefully coordinated triple murder. >> mr. powell. >> the secretary of state is going nowhere soon. took to his bed and is slow to recover. and there's a -- butler. >> you will check into the court tomorrow morning. vice president johnson's suite is on the first floor. >> no. >> no?
>> no. i do not wish -- i cannot. >> it is too late, george. we have, all of us, conspired together. >> yeah. one man, not to murder. >> this is an act of war, and you are stuck to it. it is a tar pit from which you cannot pull away. and when tomorrow night is through and our deed is done, we will all of us be known. i've seen to it. and we will be hailed as heroes. ♪ >> we'll meet back here tomorrow night 9:00. powell and harrell will pay a
visit to the secretary of state, he'll go to see the vice president and i'll go for a performan performance. and there i will kill a tyrant. >> this is the true story of the killing of abraham lincoln. the first assassination of an american president, and what might about most resonant crime in the history of the nation. john wilkes booth's plan to kill lincoln isn't first black light operation to target the 16th president of the united states. at least five kidnapping or assassination schemes are hatched, although none are attempted. none save perhaps one.
abraham lincoln is riding alone as is his custom from the war department to the soldiers home where the families stay during the hot summer months. >> help me. >> i heard a rifle shot. >> yes, down by the bottom of the hill. >> that is what frightened him so. and he bucked and separated me from my $8 hat. much o blinled.
>> your hat, sir? found at the bottom of the hill. >> it is properly ventilated for these hot summer months. likely some fellow returning from a day's hunt discharged his gun in a precautionary measure of safety before bringing it into his home. i assure you i'm in great danger from the rumors of snipers and i encourage your silence in this affair. i would ask that you tell no one of this adventure. >> sir -- >> i'll be doubly obliged to you. >> yes, sir. >> that is abraham lincoln, the
self-educated statesman who has abolished slavery and will go on to end the war and save the union, yet during his four years and 41 days in office the intensity of the hatred leveled toward him even by members of his own party is extreme even by today's standards. while the killing of abraham lincoln serves to sanctify him, to transform a controversial president into a dearly beloved martyr, it also serves to pervert the truth about his killer. john wilkes booth. a passionate and well-admired man on the path to become one of the greatest actors of his time is reduced by history to a two-dimensional skround rel and dismissed as a madman. >> it's all right. for god's sakes, save the fight.
>> mr. booth. >> why mr. mccollum. >> mr. booth, i'm so very sorry. >> come, come, old fellow. you look as if you had lost the blood. not another word. now if you had got my eye, that would have been bad. but you didn't. and it was -- well, it was splendid! >> that is john wilkes booth. bosh and raised in maryland, a border state, a slave state that did not secede from the union. john wilkes booth is also a southern zealot whose hatred of abraham lincoln is nothing less than fanatical. in october of 1864, booth makes contact with a confederate
secret service and shortly after lincoln's re-election, he determines to kidnap the president. he stops in philadelphia to visit his sister aja and there he writes a letter. >> to whom it may concern, right or wrong, god judge me, not man. my love is for the south alone. nor do i deem it a dishonor in attempting to make for her a prisoner of this man. to whom she owes so much. mizry. our brother voted for him. >> yes. >> for a false president, a tool of the north that means to crush out slavery by robbery, raping and slaughter. god grant that i may see the end!
this country is for the white man and not for the black. aja, lock this in your safe for me. i may come back for it, but if anything should happen to me, open it alone and send the letters as directed for brother junius and sister rosalee and the other to whom it may concern, a confederate doing duty upon his own responsibility, j. wilkes booth. >> i will fix that for you, son. we'll put a fine point on it. >> on february 5th, 1865, abraham lincoln visiting
alexander gardner's photographic studio. >> are we ready, mr. gardener some. >> yes, mr. president. now, if you wouldn't mind leaving the other side of the favor. that angle favors you. >> after four years and more casualties than in any conflict in the nation's history, the civil war is almost over. but the image made on this day will be the last official portrait ever taken of the 16th president of the united states. abraham lincoln has six weeks to live. >> with malice toward none, we charity for all, with firmness in the right as god gives us to see the right, let us drive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to
do all which may achieve and cherish a just and a lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations. >> booth is there. a face in the crowd. on the steps of the east portico. by march 17, 1865, booth and two boyhood friends along with confederate agent lewis powell and smuggler george atzeradt lay in wait to visit the military hospital, but lincoln cancels the hospital visit. booth then travels to new york where he learns of a confederate plot to kill lincoln by planting explosives in the white house.
he's left washington to visit the war front where general ulysses s. grant is poised to capture the confederate capital of richmond, virginia. abraham lincoln has 13 days to live. on april 3rd, 1865, confederate forces set fire to their own capital of richmond, virginia, before evacuating ahead of advancing union troops. confederate president jefferson davis escapes by train, abandons his white house of the confederacy, and abraham lincoln lands in richmond to view the devastated runs of this american city. >> foreman!
master lincoln. >> you are a free citizen of this republic. kneel to god only and thank him for the liberty that is yours. >> it's one of the most unforgettable scenes in american history, an american president walking the streets of a fallen rebel capital in the midst of a civil war. scarcely 36 hours after jefferson davis has left his capital, abraham lincoln arrives at the home of the confederate president. >> i'll inform the general's wife who is on his way, sir. and this is mrs. amelia, the housekeeper. >> ma'am. might you direct me to president
>> might i have a glass of water? >> ironically on this day ted's 12th birthday, the immediate danger to the president is not enrichment. it's on its way to washington. sergeant thomas harny, an explosives expert with the confederate torpedo bureau, has already been dispatched on a secret mission to blow up the white house and lincoln in it. and there is sound evidence that john wilkes booth learns of the plot while in new york at the same time that abraham lincoln is walking the streets of richmond. >> sergeant harny is with colonel mowsby in virginia as we speak, seeking to infiltrate washington at the earliest convenience. >> and jefferson davis has sanctioned this hair brained insend eary scheme? i see. and it is true that president davis escaped intact from
richmond? >> yes, thank heaven, he's safely bound for danville. you seem troubled. >> troubled? i, for four years i have lived not daring to express my thoughts or sentiments even in my own home, constantly hearing every principle dear to my heart denounced as treasonable. and i have cursed my willful idleness begun to deem myself a coward and to despise my own existence. richmond has fallen in a war against the constitution, against states' rights, against southern rights and institutions and a malignant tyrant, a half-breed low-mannered country buffoon is threatening to proclaim himself king. i should have killed him on
inauguration day. i could have. i was that close. now, if the south is to be aided at all, it must be done quickly and it may already be too late. gentlemen, when caesar conquered the enemy of rome and the powers that were his brutus arose and slew him. trouble? not at all. i stand with brutus. >> lincoln might have remained in virginia on the battlefront with general grant, he might even have been present to witness robert e. lee's surrender on april 9th, but as fate would have it, secretary of state william seward and his son frederick are victims of a
carriage accident in washington. >> william. >> mr. president. >> mr. lincoln. >> sir. >> frederick. is your father able to tolerate a friend? >> this way. >> seward's jaw is broken in two places and his right arm is fractured. so on april 9th, unaware of lee's surrender, lincoln returns to washington to visit his injured secretary of state. >> i think we near ly, richmond is back in the arms. i walked her streets.
i sat in jeff davis' own chair. >> thank you for coming, mr. president. >> how could i stay away when my secretary of state is rendered in such a way as he cannot but listen? i have worked my own hand as hard as at sawing wood, so many others hands have i shaken. i was at the prison. general weitzle asked me point blank how to treat the defeated confederate soldiers. i told him to let them up easy. my old friend. >> it is close to 10:00 p.m. when secretary of war stanton delivers to lincoln the telegram reporting that robert e. lee has surrendered. the next day washington city is in full celebration.
a crowd gathers in front of the white house to serenade lincoln and to call for him to speak. he politely promises a speech the next night and requests that the band play the confederate anthem, he asked them to play dixie. ♪ >> thank you, mr. powell. >> it's paine, not powell, i ain't going by powell no more. >> let us all join in doing the acts necessary. >> on tuesday, april 11th, faithful to his promise, lincoln speaks from the north portico of the white house. booth is there. >> it is also unsatisfactory to some that the franchise is not given to the colored man. i would myself --
>> that made -- citizenship. >> some 12,000 voters. >> draw a revolver and shoot him now. >> there's people. >> there are always people. i wonder, mr. powell or mr. paine in spite of your reputation, if you have what it takes. i already suspect mr. herold. >> i have what it takes. >> that's the last speech he will make. >> abraham lincoln has less than four days to live.
washington city celebrates robert e. lee's surrender with a grand illumination. candles burn in every window, public and private. fireworks and cannonba volleys proclaim victory. on april 13th, booth visits grovers theater and learns that a production of aladdin or his wonderful lamp is planned for the next night, april 14th, good friday, and that the president has been invited to attend. booth arranges for a ticket to the box adjoining the president's and informs his co-conspirators that the plan has changed from kidnapping to murder. that on april 14th lewis powell will kill secretary of state seward, david herold will accompany powell and lead him across the navy yard into maryland. george atzeradt will kill vice president johnson at his room in
the hotel and booth will kill lincoln during the performance of aladdin at grovers theater. with little more than 24 hours to live, abraham lincoln rises at 7:00 a.m. and writing four brief messages including one instructing acting secretary of state frederick seward to call a cabinet meeting for 11:00 a.m. then, joins his family at breakfast to find his eldest son robert just returned from witnessing the surrender at appommatox. >> general lee, stately, elegant, his uniform spotless, with a jeweled sword and shining spurs and general grant, so shabby in a muddy blue uniform,
borrowed from a private. it was great. and here is lee. >> let me see. can i see it? can i -- >> wait a moment. >> now that is the face of a nobel man. listen to me, robert. you must lay aside your uniform, return to college, read law for three years and at the end of that time, i hope that we will be able to tell whether you will make a lawyer or not. >> yes, sir. and i will, sir. >> shortly before 11:00 a.m., lincoln sees secretary of war edwin statton at the war department. >> mr. stanton, mrs. lincoln has invited general and mrs. grant to join us at the theater this
evening. and general grant already hints that they will decline in favor of taking a train to new jersey to visit with their children. i trust that you have had no occasion to encourage this desertion in the face of entertainment? >> had i the occasion, i would have seized it. i'm sorry, sir, but it is a fact that rumors of assassination schemes are everywhere now. it remains a constant subject of concern between myself and mr. seward even in the face of his recovery. >> doors to the white house stay open, my life is within reach of anyone, insane or mad, by the hand of murderer i can die but once, but to go continually in fear is to die over and over and
over again. >> will you be attending the theater tonight? >> aladdin is playing at grovers. >> no, sir. i'm afraid not, sir. >> pity. there will be some fine acting there tonight. >> the officers could keep their side arms. >> and what terms did you make for the common soldiers? >> i told them to go back to their homes and families with the promise to not again take up arms against the united states of america. >> quite simple. and quite right. which brings to mind how very providential it is that this was crushed just as congress has
adjourned. there are men in congress who harbor feelings of hate and vindictiveness toward the south. but there will be no persecution. when this war is over, no bloody work. we must spend every effort to reanimate the south. put her state governments in order and to re-establish the union before congress reconvenes. still no word from general sherman? >> we are hourly expecting him. >> it will be good news. general sherman will have secured johnston's surrender. i know this because i have had the dream last night. i've had it before. it's always the same and invariably followed by favorable news. as secretary of the navy, it has
to do with your element, mr. wells, water. i am in some kind of vessel in the dream. and always moving with rapidity toward an indefinite shore. >> in an aside, general grant informs the president that his wife insists upon them leaving on the afternoon train. they will not be attending the theater. shortly before noon, john wilkes booth stops at fords theater as is his daily custom to pick up his mail. >> here's a man by general lee to get his mail. >> i don't like the way he surrendered, giving his sword and swearing an oath to never have given it up, he should have died on the battlefield before rendering his southern manhood to the butcher grant. that's what i said harry and it's what i meant. now let's hope he's not paraded
through the streets as the romans did their captives, huh? thank you. >> i'll be sure to ask the president his plan in that regard. >> the president? you mean the buffoon who walked into jeff davis' house in richmond, threw his legs over the chair and spit tobacco juice all over the place? >> he don't chew tobacco, john, or i would have put a spitoon for the presidential box tonight. a mention enger called for tickets for them and mrs. grant. maybe we'll have robert lee ain another box both of them in chains. >> i thought he was attending grovers theater. ♪
♪ >> booth goes to humphreys stable to reserve a horse, then to write a letter, a confession, an explanation, a manifesto signed by him on behalf of himself, lewis powell, david herold and george atzeradt. meanwhile, mr. and mrs. lincoln take a carriage ride alone. according to mary todd lincoln, she's never seen her husband so supremely cheerful. they talk about the past, about the death of their son willie, three years before, about the future, traveling abroad and lincoln's plan to return to his law practice. lincoln tells mary that on this particular day he feels that the war has come to a close. they end up at the washington navy yard where lincoln summons
a young navy officer, william h. flood. >> the last time we saw young flood here we were in springfield. i was a lawyer and he was but knee high to a grass hopper. his mother was kin with governor c carlin. >> i remember priscilla flood. >> and his father served with me in the illinois state legislature, a democrat, but a friend and a good man despite his fervent support of my opponent for the presidency. >> sins is of the father, sir. >> never a sin to stand up for what you believe. now, which the vessel with a history? >> well, mr. lincoln, they've all been messing around under fire quite a lot, but i guess you mean the montauk over there. she's got the hardest hitting. >> the very one, flood. show her to me. mother?
>> at 4:30 a dproup group of confederate of war are moving up pennsylvania avenue when booth encounters his friend, the actor john matthews. >> my god, i have no longer a country. >> what's the matter, john? >> matthews. i have a favor to ask you. will you grant it? i may have to leave town tonight. i have a letter here which i desire to be published in the national intelligencer. please attend to it for me unless i see you before 10:00 tomorrow. >> there goes general grant. >> where? >> the general and mrs. grant will later recall the horseman who peered into their carriage
>> mr. fords, mr. parker, i hope that you might enjoy the play. >> since november of 1864, four officers of the metropolitan police have been detailed to protect the president. on this night, john parker is on duty. as last-minute replacements for general and mrs. grant, mrs. lincoln invites her dear friend clara harris and the company of her fiance major henry reed rathbone. the famously self-educated lincoln is an enthusiastic lover of theater, but during the war, he is drawn to comedy telling noah brooks that a farce or comedy is best played. a tragedy is best read at home. a last-minute meeting with lewis powell, david herold and george atzerodt has just concluded.
the coordinated attack that booth outlined on april 13th is to go into effect immediately. at 10:15 lewis powell is to kill secretary of state seward in his home on lafayette square. david herold will guide powell out of the city via the navy yard bridge. george atzerodt is to kill president johnson at the kirkwood house hotel. the only change in the plan is that booth will not be attending "aladdin" at grovers. >> hello, john. >> he'll kill lincoln at fords theater. it's still early in act two. booth has calculated that the appointed time of 10:15 will fall at the beginning of act three of "our american cousin," and there will be an intermission between the acts. booth retrieves his horse from
>> i have no humor. >> booth heads next door to the star salute. whether or not francis burke, the man who drove the lincoln carriage, and john parker, the man detailed to protect the president, are drinking at the star saloon when booth enters will never be known with any certainty. >> but the urge somehow to be a part of or witness to the killing of abraham lincoln will prompt many to make claims that are impossible to substantiate. the remark allegedly overheard during intermission by orchestra
conductor william withers is a prime example. >> a fine tragedien, john, but you'll never be as great as your father. >> when i leave the stage for good, i'll be the most talked about man in america. >> and the stage is set for the most dramatic and resident crime in american history. >> yes, sir? >> i have here medicine for mr. seward from his surgeon. >> i dmont that we're expecting any such thing, but i'll see to it that he gets it. >> no, i got to take it to him myself. personal.
>> please, sir. the house is mostly asleep now. and you don't want to be waking up. >> left it to his granddaughter, ms. mary meredith. >> who is this? >> mr. frederick, this man says he's from dr. burke. >> i have medicine here for mr. seward with instructions on how he must take it. >> i'm sorry, but you cannot see him now. my sister and his nurse are in the bedroom to compose my father to sleep now. >> but i must. doctor's orders. >> wait, wait. >> as i said, not worthwhile to talk about this any further.
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it's a bullet wound. occipital bone here. >> the president is being attended by physicians. please make your way in orderly fashion to the street. >> larynx for free passage of air. n i need you and you to manipulate his arms up and down, to inflate the thorax. respiration isn't satisfactory. >> here's brandy.
>> tell me! tell me is he alive! >> at 10:35, 20 minutes after shooting the president, booth arrives at the navy yard bridge, his escape route into maryland. sergeant silas t. todd of the 13th regiment massachusetts heavy artillery is on sentry duty. >> halt, who goes? >> friend. >> name? >> my name is booth. >> where from? >> i'm from the city. >> where are you headed? >> down home. charlestown. >> what town? >> i don't live in a town. i live near beantown. >> i don't know where that place is, friend. but you know it's against the law to cross here after 9:00. what is your object to be in town so late when you've got to far to travel? >> it's a dark road.
i thought if i waited till now, i show have the light of this moon to help me see my way. >> well, i will let you pass, but i don't know as i ought to. >> hell, there will be no trouble about that. ♪ >> make way. make way. >> to the white house. we must take him to the white house. >> no. he'll die on the way. >> the saloon, here, next door. >> no. t it should not be said that the president of the united states die in a saloon, not even my own. >> give me an order and i'll see
that it be carried out. >> across the street, to the nearest house. >> make a path. let us pass. >> stop. >> here, here, bring him here. >> go, go. >> lincoln is taken to a boarding house directly across the street from the theater, and due to his 6'4" height, lay diagonally on the bed of absent border william clark. shortly after william stanton sets up headquarters in the back parlor of the house and sets up communication. he alerts general grant and calls him back to washington.
issues emergency directives to police and military authorities, orders the national detective police to initiate a man hunt for the as yet unknown assassin. and novembers vice president johnson that the president is dying. and shortly before midnight, chief justice david kellogg carter begins to hear eyewitness testimony of the crime. but the appointed stenographer cannot write fast enough. >> is there anyone here who knows the practice of shorthand writing? >> here, there's a border here who does. >> tell his that his services are required here immediately. >> jim, it's general auger, they want you next door. >> tell him i'll be right there.
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♪ minutes after john wilkes booth crosses the navy yard bridge, sergeant cobb stops david herold riding a gray roan horse. cobb asks if a rider has passed here and cobb tells him yes and lets him pass. his job is to guide lewis powell out of washington after killing secretary of state seward. but hearing the cries of "murder" from seward's house -- >> murder, he's killing my father! >> he flees the scene not waiting for him. he catches up just outside of washington. and it's midnight when they arrive at a safehouse for confederate spies. >> for god's sake, make haste. >> at a tavern where weapons have been stored. a tavern owned by the mother of confederate courier john surrat.
>> i can't carry a carbin. this little bitch fell on me, i broke my damn leg. i need a surgeon. we'll go to sam mud. >> how can we get down south of the river >> i cannot go on without a doctor. >> floyd, floyd, i'm fairly certain we've assassinated the president and secretary seward. mind your damn horse, let's go. >> meanwhile at the petersen boarding house, corporal james tanner who has lost both legs at the second battle of bull run and is just ten days past his 21st birthday, is about to take the first eyewitness testimony in the assassination of abraham lincoln.
>> yes. >> mr. hill will be asking questions of the witnesses before chief justice carter. >> the assassination of abraham lincoln is witnessed by more than 1500 people. yet no two accounts match. >> william henry hawk. >> james p. ferguson. >> i thought at first he was intoxicated. there was a glare in his eye. >> i turned to captain mcgowan intending to say something in reference to this man's manner. >> i was looking with an opera glass to see which citizen it was with the president. >> the next instant the shot was fired. i said at once it was the president's box and jumped to the door. >> i was on stage at the time of the firing. >> and he put his hands on the cushion of the box and he threw his feet right over. and he pulled part of a state flag off, and as i looked
towards him, he came in the direction in which i was standing. >> can you describe the man's form as he jumped from the box? >> yes, sir, i saw him as he ran across the stage. >> as he ran across, he looked right up in my face. i pulled the ladies down behind the bannister. >> as he went through the scene, threw his hand behind him and the knife was up in sight. >> he made some expression when he came on the stage -- >> the south shall be free. >> but i did not understand it. >> he stopped as he said -- >> i have done it! >> shook the knife. >> his face was towards me. he didn't say a word that i heard but very strongly resembled booth's. i believe to the best of my knowledge that it was john wilkes booth. still, i'm not positive.
>> at 4:30 a.m. april 15th booth and herold arrive at the home of dr. samuel mud. either during his jump from the presidential box to the stage or as a result of his horse falling, booth has sustained a clean break of his fibula, two inches above the instep of his left foot. at the same time that dr. samuel mudd is tending to john wilkes booth, 30 miles away abraham lincoln is dying. >> i'm inserting a milliton
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once. just speak to our children. just speak to little tad. you love him so. [ wheezing ] >> mary lincoln screams and faints. and secretary of war stanton orders that she is to be removed from the room. and she is led away, corporal tanner, transcribing in shortland in the back parlor, overhears him to say, oh, my god, i've given my husband to die. dr. charles augustus leale, the surgeon who has been by the president's side for nine hours and scarcely let go of lincoln's hand for no other reason than to let him in his blindness know that he was in touch with humanity and had a friend. at 21 minutes and 55 seconds past 7:00 a.m. on saturday, april 15th, 1865, abraham
lincoln draws his last breath. 15 seconds later, his heart stops. the reverend finish yus gurley will recall that those present remain motionless and silent for several minutes after surgeon general barnes says simply, he is gone. >> now, he belongs to the ages. >> according to corporal tanner stanton said he belongs to the angels now. but tanner was unable to record the moment. his pencil had broken.
already members of the 13th new york cavalry have been ordered to southern maryland in search of lincoln's killer. what will soon become the largest man hunt in american history at that time begins with troops searching scarcely four miles from dr. mudd's farmhouse. lost in the dark and on the edge of the swamp, booth and herold have promised to pay tobacco farmer oswald juan $12 to lead them to the home of samuel cox, a leader in the confederate underground. >> how is it that you know captain cox? >> oh, we all know captain cox, sir. he's a true man of the south. he's a hard man. beat -- to death himself. you, you a free --? >> we all free now, sir. thanks to master lincoln. lord rest his soul. but i ain't no --.
♪ >> they have arrived at about 1:00 a.m. on easter sunday. after talking until dawn, cox is sympathetic but no fool. he'll put booth and herold in touch with a confederate smuggler who will get them across the potomac and into virginia but cox will not allow lincoln's assassin to stay in his home. so booth and herold are directed to wait in a pine thicket just across cox's property. they don't know it yet, but they will wait there for the next five days and four nights. >> don't you know i can't get on. >> help him on his horse. ♪ >> $12. >> yes, sir.
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on april 17th, colonel la fate baker the head of the national detective police asks alexander gardner to make copies of three pictures. it is the first time in history that photographs have been used on a wanted poster. thanks in part to papers found in booth's room at the national hotel, lewis powell and mary surrat are jailed in washington
and george atzerodt who simply got drunk and wandered away from the kirkwood hotel rather than attempt to kill vice president johnson, is discovered hiding out in his cousin's home in germantown, maryland. elements that the eight illinois calvary and the 22nd colored troops join the calvary in southern maryland and two members of the national detective police, lieutenant luther baker and colonel everton conger accompany members of the 16th new york cavalry under the command of lieutenant edward doherty. >> our cause, being almost lost, something decisive and great must be done. i struck boldly. i shouted sic semper before i fired, jumping, broke my leg. this night before the deed, i
wrote a long article and left it for one of the editors of the national intelligence service in which i fully set forth the reasons for our proceedings. he or the government -- >> the first of booth's two journal entries ends there. he is interrupted by thomas jones, samuel cox's foster brother. cox has asked jones to see to it that booth gets across the potomac to virginia. in spite of the $100,000 bounty being offered jones keeps booth and herold hidden and fed well,
government troops occupy and sweep through the region. later jones will claim that booth's singular desire was for newspapers. so it is here in the pine thicket that booth reads the horrific accounts, the lurid details and bloody result of lewis powell's attack on secretary of state william seward. ♪ >> my father, help!
johnson has been sworn in as the 17th president of the united states. but as abraham lincoln's body lies in state in the east room of the white house, john wilkes booth lies on a bed of dirt and pine needles and reads the worst reviews of his life. a man who was raised on shakespeare is brought to his knees by his own hubris. in one fell swoop, with one grand gesture, he has changed the course of american history and dramatically jeopardized the fate of the south that he loved so dearly.
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cemetery in springfield, illinois. after one failed attempt, in the early morning hours of april 23rd, that john wilkes booth and david herold finally cross the potomac and land in virginia. as he writes in his diary, with every man's hand against me for doing what brutus was honored for, looked upon as a common cutthroat, abandoned with the cursive cane upon me. and on april 24th booth and herold arrive at the farm of richard garrett. booth presents himself as james w. boyd, a confederate soldier wounded at the battle of petersburg. and the family takes them in. but the very next day, booth is writing in his diary when word comes that union calvary are
heading toward the garrett farm. booth tells herold to get his pistols. the two men flee to hide in the woods. when they return, garrett's suspicions have been aroused. tonight they will not be welcome to sleep in the house. tonight they will sleep in the tobacco barn. >> tonight, i tried to escape these bloodhounds once more. i have too great a soul to die a criminal. >> i don't want to die, booth. i don't want to kill no one. >> i do not wish to shed a drop of blood, but i must fight the course. 'tis all that's left to me.
>> at 2:30 a.m. on the morning of april 26th, the tobacco barn at garrett's farm is surrounded by 26 members of the 16th new york cavalry. >> we know who you are! >> who are you? what do you want? >> we want you. and we know who you are. give up your arms and come out directly! >> well, my boy, we have no choice. >> you god damn coward, you would leave me now? go. go on. i would not have you stay with
me. this is a hard case. it may be that i am to be taken by my friends. >> be assured. we are not your friends. >> you have the sound of a brave man. an honorable man. i'm a cripple. i've got but one leg. if you will withdraw your men in line 100 yards from the door, i will come out and fight you. >> we did not come here to fight. we came to make you a prisoner. >> you put any more jingling and i'll put a ball through you. >> i could have picked off three of four of your men by now if i wished to do so. draw your men off 50 yards. >> i will not. >> well, my brave boys, you can prepare a stretcher for me. go. save yourself. >> captain, there is man in here who wishes to surrender.
>> let him hand out his arms! you carry a carbine and you must hand it out. >> i declare before my maker that this man is innocent of any crime. the honor of a gentleman. he has no arms. the arms are mine. and i've got them. >> show your hands. put up your hands. >> one more stain on the old -- make quick work of it, captain. shoot me through the heart. >> he shot himself.
>> in the neck. >> i told you, he shot himself. >> no, corpsman did. >> i saw him through the barn. he was raising his rifle against us. sergeant corpsman shot. >> in washington, lewis powell and george atzerodt will soon be joined by david herold and all about be held in custody on the uss saugous and uss montauk and tomorrow their photographs will be taken and the public will see for the first time the faces of the men who conspired to decapitate the government of the united states. now it is the morning of april 26th and john wilkes booth has only hours to live.
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tug boat bound for washington navy yard. alexander gardener and timothy o'sullivan boarded to make glass plate photographs of the man who conspired first to kidnap, then kill, abraham lincoln. george axe arrived he lost his nerve rather than attempt to kill vice president johnson, condemned to die. >> mr. lewis, after his savage but failed attempt on the live
of the secretary of state, lewis powell hides in washington before wandering into mary serrat's boarding house and into the arms of police. powlee is sentenced to death. on april 27th, the young man who followed john wilkes booth until the bitter end is condemned to die. and at the request of secretary of state stanton, alexander
gardener takes one more picture on april 27th. dr. frederick mays, can you positively identify the body? is this a scar from the back of its neck? >> there is. >> let me describe it before it is seen by me. it's on the left side? and has appearance like a burn than that of a surgical operation? it was occasioned when i removed a fibroid tumor from his neck. >> it's exactly as you have described it. >> yes. that is he. >> that is john wilkes booth. >> gentleman, please, stand where you are. and perfectly still.
1, 2, 3. >> james wardell takes the single last plate and delivers it to baker. it is presumed baker gives to it secretary of war, stanton but no one knows the photograph of the autopsy of john wilkes booth has never been found the trial of the conspirators is a mirror tale tribunal. 366 witnesses testified all defendants are found guilty. and in attempting to create a definite record of the people and events surrounding the assassination of abraham lincoln, o'sullivan and gardener are giving extraordinary access. july 7, 1865, the sentences are
carried out, for the first assassination of a president in the history of the nation. and mary serrant becomes the first woman ever to be executed by the united states federal government when she joins powell, and herald on a scaffold at the old arsenal penitentiary. in an interview ten years later, the former president of the confederacy, jefferson davis
states simply, next to theructi the death of abraham lincoln was the darkest day the south has ever known. tad lincoln learned of his father's assassination while attending "aladdin" at grover's theater. he died of heart failure six years later. briefly committed to an asylum, mary todd lincoln died in springfield, 17 years after the assassination of her husband. john wilkes booth body buried in a storage room at the old arsenal penitentiary, then, a warehouse, finally intered in green mount cemetery in baltimore, maryland four years after the killing of abraham lincoln. ten weeks after the president's death, the civil war was over and lincoln's gettiesberg
declaration, realized that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. good night. >> killing lincoln a factor special is on. tonight: >> >> >> take you behind the scenes as we preview tonight's star studded movie, killing lincoln. author sits down with me humble correspondent tell you how we created our "new york times" best seller. >> i will get the overview of the story and break it down sentence by sentence. who was allowed in the white house and what the white house was like at the time. >> also take you along on our whirlwind book tour with visits to "fox & friends," imus and letterman. >> 16,000 books written