Howard Markel Dr. Howard Markel. Yet on the morning of April 14,the President awoke in an uncommonly good mood. Grant, the commanding General of the Union. To celebrate, Mr. The Lincolns invited Gen. Grant and his wife to attend the play with them. At a cabinet meeting later that morning, however, Gen.
Grant informed President Lincoln that they would not be able to the first couple and, instead, would be visiting their children in New Jersey. Even more ominous, the ornery Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, pleaded with the President not to go out that evening for fear of a potential assassination.
Stanton was hardly the only presidential advisor against the outing. Lincoln almost begged off, complaining of one of her all too frequent headaches. And even President Lincoln moaned about feeling exhausted as a result of his heavy presidential duties.
Nevertheless, he insisted that an evening of comedy was just the tonic he and his wife required. Lincoln, confident that his bodyguards would protect him from any potential harm, shrugged off the warnings and invited Maj. Lithograph of the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
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Rathbone is depicted as spotting Booth before he shot Lincoln and trying to stop him as Booth fired his weapon. From the Library of Congress. Parker left his post outside the presidential box during intermission to satisfy an alcoholic craving at the nearby Star Saloon. During the third act, as the Lincolns laughed and held hands, a man barged into the unguarded box. The intruder, of course, was the actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth.
Major Rathbone tried to tackle Booth down but the assassin overpowered him by slashing his arm with a dagger.
He somehow managed to limp away and exit through the stage door, thus initiating one of the most intense manhunts in American history. Instead, it is the hours of agony the wounded president endured before finally succumbing early on the morning on April As members of the audience cried out that the president had been murdered and shouted pleas to catch and kill the escaping culprit, the first doctor to attend Lincoln was a year-old Army captain named Charles A.
He had just received his medical degree six weeks earlier, on Lincoln 1, from the Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York, widely regarded as one of the best in the nation. Sending out for some brandy and water, Dating. I placed my finger on his right radial pulse but could perceive no movement of the artery. This maneuver may seem shocking to a 21st century observer but in the days before post knew anything about microbiology, let alone sterile surgical technique, it was a common practice for examining gunshot wounds.
Leale quickly determined that this was a mortal wound. By this time, two other doctors, C. Taft and A. There, he was taken upstairs to rest in the room of a Union soldier named William T. Clark, who was out for the evening. National Archives.
Leale wrote only a few hours after President Lincoln died. In fact, there are seven extant s by Leale, five dating fromone fromand another from Each version is similar, albeit each contains some variations and slight differences of terminology and tone.
Yet many Lincoln scholars have deemed the Papaioannou document to be the most reliable version because it was written so closely after the actual events. The bed is a replica; the actual deathbed was dating by the Chicago History Museum in The surgeons attempted to probe the wound by introducing surgical instruments and their unwashed hands into the bullet hole with the hope of extracting the lead ball and dislodged pieces of bone.
Leale post At a. At a. The inspirations now became very short, and the expirations very prolonged and labored accompanied by a guttural sound. The Surgeon General Joseph K. Barnes now held his finger to the carotid artery, Col. Charles Crane held his head, Dr. Just three days before his death, Abraham Lincoln told bodyguard Ward Hill Lamon that he had a dream about a funeral that took place in the East Room of the White House.
I slept no Lincoln that night; and although it was only a dream, I have been strangely annoyed by it ever since.
Leale went on to a distinguished career as a physician, after an honorable discharge from the U. He married infathered six children, successfully practiced medicine and worked on a of charitable causes in New York City until his retirement in at the age of But his greatest medical adventure occurred a mere few weeks after receiving his medical degree. That was the night and day, years ago, when Dr. Leale took care of the 16th President of the United States, who drew his final breath early on the morning of April 15,because of the deranged act of a mad assassin.
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Howard Markel writes a monthly column for the PBS NewsHour, highlighting the anniversary of a momentous event that continues to shape modern medicine. Support Provided By: Learn more.
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