On April 14, 1865, at approximately 10:20 p.m., John Wilkes Booth, a prominent American actor, snuck up behind President Abraham Lincoln as he watched a play at Ford’s Theater, and shot him in the back of the head at point-blank range. The President was carried across the street to a private home where he died early the following morning. Booth, pursued by Union soldiers for twelve days through southern Maryland and Virginia, died of a gunshot wound on April 26 after refusing to surrender to Federal troops.
The murder of President Lincoln was part of a larger conspiracy that included a simultaneous attack on Secretary of State William H. Seward and the possible targeting of Vice President Andrew Johnson. Assuming the Presidency after Lincoln’s death, President Johnson considered the crime a military one, and he ordered that the eight accused conspirators be tried before a military commission. Dr. Robert King Stone, the Lincoln family physician, was one of 350 witnesses who testified during the course of the proceedings. His testimony is shown here.