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President
Lincoln, on the night of April 14th, was sitting in a box at Ford's
Theatre in Washington, accompanied by his wife and another lady and
gentleman, when, at a little past ten o'clock, John Wilkes Booth, an
actor, stealthily entered the box from the rear, and, without any one
suspecting his awful purpose, fired a pistol-bullet into the President's
brain. The latter's head sank, and he never recovered consciousness.

Booth, after firing the shot, leaped upon the stage from the box,
brandished a dagger, shouted _"Sic semper tyrannis!"_ and, before the
dumbfounded spectators could comprehend what had been done, dashed out
of a rear door, sprang upon a waiting horse, and galloped off in the
darkness.

No pen can describe the horror and rage which seized the spectators when
they understood what had taken place. The stricken President was carried
across the street to a house where he died at twenty-two minutes past
seven the next morning.

About the time of his assassination, an attempt was made upon the life
of Secretary Seward, who was confined to his bed, suffering from a fall.
A male attendant prevented the miscreant from killing the secretary,
though he was badly cut. The best detective force of the country was set
to work, and an energetic pursuit of Booth was made. He had injured his
ankle when leaping from the box upon the stage of the theatre, but he
rode into Maryland, accompanied by another conspirator, named David E.
Harrold. At the end of eleven days they were run down by the pursuing
cavalry, who brought them to bay on the 26th of April. They had
crossed from Maryland into Virginia and taken refuge in a barn near Port
Royal, on the Rappahannock.

[Illustration: THE CIVIL WAR PEACE CONFERENCE.

Three commissioners from the Confederacy suggesting terms of peace to
President Lincoln and Secretary Seward in Fortress Monroe, January
1865.]


DEATH OF BOOTH.

The barn was surrounded and the two men were summoned to surrender.
Harrold went out and gave himself up. Booth refused and defied the
troopers, offering to fight them single-handed. To drive him from his
hiding-place, the barn was set on fire. Booth, carbine in hand and
leaning on his crutch, approached the door with the intention of
shooting, when Sergeant Boston Corbett fired through a crevice and hit
Booth in the neck. The wound was a mortal one, and Booth was brought out
of the barn and laid on the ground, where he died after several hours of
intense suffering. The body was taken to Washington and secretly buried.
There is good reason to believe that it was sunk at night in the
Potomac.


PUNISHMENT OF THE CONSPIRATORS.

The country was in no mood to show leniency to any one concerned in the
taking off of the beloved President. Of the five conspirators tried,
four were hanged. They were: Payne, Harrold, G.A. Atzeroot, and Mrs.
Mary A. Surratt, at whose house the conspirators held their meetings.
Dr. S.A. Mudd, who dressed Booth's wounded ankle, and was believed to be
in sympathy with the plotters, was sentenced to the Dry Tortugas for a
number of years. He showed so much devotion during an outbreak of yellow
fever there that he was pardoned some time later. John Surratt, the
assailant of Secretary Seward, fled to Italy, where he was discovered by
Archbishop Hughes, and the Italian government, as an act of courtesy,
delivered him to our government. On his first trial the jury disagreed,
and on the second he escaped through the plea of limitations.

The whole country mourned the death of President Lincoln. His greatness,
his goodness, and his broad, tender charity were appreciated by every
one. The South knew that they had lost in him their best friend. Had he
lived, much of the strife of the succeeding few years would have been
saved, and the bitter cup that was pressed to the lips of the conquered
South would have been less bitter than it was made by others. The
remains of the martyred President were laid in their final resting-place
at Springfield, Illinois, and the fame of Lincoln grows and increases
with the passing years.


SHERMAN'S NORTHWARD ADVANCES.

The army of General Jo Johnston did not surrender until after the death
of President Lincoln. Sherman, as will be remembered, made the city of
Savannah a Christmas present to the President. Leaving a strong
detachment in the city, Sherman moved northward with an army of 70,000
men, including artillery, the start being made on the 1st of February.
Charleston, where the first ordinance of secession was passed and which
had successfully defied every movement against it, now found itself
assailed in the rear. The garrison, after destroying the government
stores, the railway stations, blowing up the ironclads in the harbor,
bursting the guns on the ramparts of the forts, and setting the city on
fire, withdrew. This took place February 17th. The next day General
Gillmore entered Charleston and his troops extinguished the few
buildings that were still burning.

It has not been forgotten that Wilmington, North Carolina, had become
the great blockade-running port of the Southern Confederacy. The mouth
of Cape Fear River was defended by Fort Fisher, a very powerful
fortification. General Butler made an attempt to capture it in December,
but failed. Another effort followed January 15th, under General Alfred
Terry, and was successful. The defeated garrison joined Johnston to help
him in disputing the northward advance of Sherman.

There was severe fighting, especially at Goldsborough, but the Union
army was so much the superior that its progress could not be stayed.
There Schofield reinforced Sherman, who, feeling all danger was past,
turned over the command to his subordinate and went north to consult
with Grant, reaching his headquarters on the 27th of March. Soon after
the surrender of Lee, the whole Confederacy was in such a state of
collapse that the Union cavalry galloped back and forth through every
portion at will.

Returning to his command, Sherman moved against Johnston, April 10th.
Four days later, Johnston admitted in a communication to the Union
commander that the surrender of Lee meant the end of the war, and he
asked for a temporary suspension of hostilities, with the view of making
arrangements for the laying down of the Confederate arms. Sherman
consented, and these two commanders met and discussed the situation.


SURRENDER OF JO JOHNSTON AND COLLAPSE OF THE SOUTHERN CONFEDERACY.

In the exchange of views which followed, the great soldier, Sherman, was
outwitted by Johnston and the Confederate president and cabinet, who
were behind him. They secured his agreement to a restoration, so far as
he could bring it about, of the respective State governments in the
South as they were before the war, with immunity for the secession
leaders from punishment, and other privileges, which, if granted, would
have been throwing away most of the fruits of the stupendous struggle.
Sherman thus took upon himself the disposition of civil matters with
which he had nothing to do. The more sagacious Grant saw the mistake of
his old friend, and, visiting his camp, April 24th, told him his
memorandum was disapproved, and notice was to be sent Johnston of the
resumption of hostilities. Two days later, Sherman and Johnston again
met, and the Confederate commander promptly agreed to surrender his army
on the same conditions that were given to Lee.

[Illustration: THE DESPERATE EXTREMITY OF THE CONFEDERATES AT THE END OF
THE CIVIL WAR.]

General J.H. Wilson and his cavalry captured Macon, Georgia, April 21st,
and, on the 4th of May, General Dick Taylor surrendered the remainder of
the Confederate forces east of the Mississippi, at which time also
Admiral Farrand surrendered to Admiral Thatcher all the naval forces of
the Confederacy that were blockaded in the Tombigbee River. At that
time, Kirby Smith was on the other side of the Mississippi, loudly
declaring that he would keep up the fight until independence or better
terms were secured, but his followers did not share his views, and
deserted so fast that he, Magruder, and others made their way to Mexico,
where, after remaining awhile, they returned to the United States and
became peaceful and law-abiding citizens. The troops left by them
passed under the command of General Brent, who, on the 26th of May,
surrendered to General Canby, when it may be said the War for the Union
was ended.

After the surrender of Johnston, Jefferson Davis and the members of his
cabinet became fugitives, under the escort of a few paroled soldiers. It
was feared they might join Kirby Smith and encourage him to continue his
resistance, while others believed he was striving to get beyond the
jurisdiction of the United States.

The party hurried through the dismal wastes of Georgia, in continual
fear that the Union cavalry would burst from cover upon them and make
all prisoners. In the early morning light of May 10th, Mr. Davis, while
asleep in his tent, near Irwinsville, Wilkinson County, Georgia, was
aroused by the alarming news that the camp was surrounded by Union
cavalry. He leaped to his feet and ran for his horse, but the animal was
already in the possession of a Federal trooper. His wife threw a shawl
over his shoulders, and he attempted to escape from the camp without
being recognized, but he was identified and made prisoner. He had been
captured by a squad of General J.H. Wilson's cavalry, under the command
of Lieutenant-Colonel Pritchard of the Fourth Michigan. His
fellow-prisoners were his wife and children, his private secretary,
Burton Harrison, his aide-de-camp, and Postmaster-General Reagan, all of
whom were taken to Macon, and thence to Fort Monroe, Virginia.

It was a serious problem, now that the president of the defunct
Confederacy was captured, what should be done with him. He was kept in
Fort Monroe until his health was impaired, when he was released on bail;
Horace Greeley, the well-known editor of the _New York Tribune_, being
one of his bondsmen. He had been indicted for treason in 1866, being
released the following year, but his trial was dropped on the 6th of
February, 1869.



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