1865 April 15: Abraham Lincoln Dead
After attending an April 11, 1865, speech in which U.S. President Abraham Lincoln promoted voting rights for Blacks, Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth became incensed and determined to assassinate the President. Booth did not act alone, however; his assassination of Lincoln was part of a larger conspiracy. The well-known actor (and Confederate spy) shot Lincoln in the back of the head at about 10:15 p.m. on the evening of April 14, 1865, at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. The President was taken across the street to Petersen House, where he died the next morning at 7:22 a.m.
Once again we are posting about an important event on the day it happened rather than when it appeared in the local northwest Wisconsin newspapers. Both of our newspapers—The Polk County Press and The Prescott Journal—had not yet heard about the assassination when their April 15, 1865, newspapers were being printed and distributed. Their coverage will appear in the next week’s issues (April 22).
For this post we are using an image from a facsimile¹ of The New York Herald of Saturday, April 15, 1865, which is in the special collections of the University Archives and Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. The thick black lines were a typical Victorian-era sign of mourning. The dispatch from the Secretary of War announcing Lincoln’s death appears in the column under the picture that starts “EXTRA.”
THE PRESIDENT DEAD.
WAR DEPARTMENT, }
WASHINGTON, April 15—7:30 A. M. }
Major General Dix, New York :—
Abraham Lincoln died this morning at twenty-two minutes past 7 o’clock.
EDWIN M. STANTON,
. .Secretary of War.
1. On page 4 of this facsimile there is, in the bottom left, a small notice that reads, “Valuable Souvenir, To Our Friends North or South. The outside pages of this paper are a fac-simile of the New York Herald as it was printed and sent out April 15th, 1865, giving full particulars of the news of that date, and is a curiosity that you may not be able to again secure ; and is sent North, South, East and West. To our friends in the South we wish to say that we send it sincerely trusting that it will cause no hard feelings, and that they with the North are thankful for the Union of to-day, and that our children and our children’s children with all future generations, may remain united with the bond of love and be proud of our country.
“The inside pages contain facts regarding Dr. Archambault’s remedies. We can honestly recommend them, and as time goes by, adding to the IMMENSE VOLUME of unsolicited testimonials, feel that we are adding to the health and welfare of our fellow-men. We shall always be in business, so that if our medicines are not required to-day, you can write us, always knowing that your communication will receive a prompt answer and the best of care and attention.
“Be sure and read the inside pages. Yours kindly, THE DR. ARCHAMBAULT CO.”