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kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Abraham Lincoln became the sixteenth president of the U.S. on March 4 1861 and was assassinated on April 14 1865. At 10 p.m. on his final evening, Lincoln had gone to watch a performance of the comedy, 'Our American Cousin,' at Ford's Theater in Washington D.C. He was with his wife, Mary, and Mr and Mrs Henry Rathbone, a major in the army.  

After the performance had started, an actor called John Wilkes Booth, entered the presidential box, took aim at Lincoln with a derringer pistol and shot him. The president slumped forward while Booth dropped the pistol and began waving a dagger. Rathbone immediately tackled Booth and was able to hold him at the railing, though only briefly. Booth then jumped from the balcony and escaped the theater. Lincoln was now in an extremely precarious state: the bullet had entered his left ear and was lodged behind his right eye. He was carried out of the theater and led across the street to a boarding house where he was attended by a doctor. Despite their best efforts, however, Lincoln died at 7:22 a.m., the next morning.  

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