Ford’s is packed, and Harry Hawk is giving a wonderful performance. You’ve strained to take a peek at the Presidential Box, but like all the other times before, Lincoln isn’t visible. Turning your attention back to the actor on stage, you’re drawn into the story. A single shot echoes in the near quiet room. A moment of stunned silence follows as you search the stage to make sense of the sudden gunshot. An ear piercing scream pulls you out of your fuzzy thoughts and the ruckus from the left side of the room steals your attention. You jump up from your seat as people around you begin moving at once. Some kneeling down on the floors, others moving toward the exit, and others, still, craning their neck to find out what happened. A crazed man flies onto the stage as if it was part of the show; only it wasn’t. He shouts something that you can’t quite understand and then runs out the back door. Men follow him out the door in hot pursuit while the attention of everyone else shifts to the sound of the hyper cries of a woman…the woman in the Presidential box…Mary Lincoln, herself. Your heart drops to the floor as you struggle to understand what just happened. Could it be Mary that was shot? Or one of her guests? The crowd is in a full uproar now. Several rush out of the building. Several more rush toward the President’s side. And several murmur from their seats. The women and children cry, part in fear and part in sorrow as word moves about the room that it was our beloved President who was shot. When chance presents itself, you move about the room, searching The Box for some understanding of what is happening. You see very little. Then at once, there was a great movement in the box. You stand transfixed as you watch in agony as several men hoist the very still, very large body of your president. With grunts and quick movements, they are once again out of your sight. Upon finally exiting the theater, it becomes clear where the President is. What isn’t clear is the extent of his injuries. You long to knock on the door of the Peterson House that sits just across the street. The great crowd gathered outside will not allow you to get close enough to the door, but maybe if you came near, you’d learn more of the man’s injuries. You take that chance and dart across the street. The fog is now thicker than before when you walked into Ford’s. Just as you expected, you can’t get any closer to the door, but you gave up that idea already. Instead, you ask around until the message becomes clear — President Lincoln was shot in the head and, although, he still lives, there is little hope that he will continue to for much longer. With a heavy heart, you leave the crowd and try to make sense of all that had happen. But what sense can really be made of such shocking events like these?
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Source: Abraham Lincoln’s Last Day
5 thoughts on “Experiencing History: Reliving the End of the Civil War, Moment by Moment: 4/14 part 2”
A great imaging of what was going through someone’s mind that was there when it happened. I can’t imagine it would be much different if it happened today. Here’s my share link.
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Thank you! This was one of my favorite posts to write.
The chaos that must have been in the theatre!
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I wish I could have found first hand accounts of the night, but I didn’t. Then again, I didn’t dig too far. I had a lot of fun fictionalizing the events though. 🙂