On April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at Ford’s Theater in Washington. We have no first-hand accounts of Lincoln’s death, but two items in our collection do relate to it in an indirect way.
The first, seen above, is a list of the Daughters of Charity who were on mission at Lincoln General Hospital in Washington in April of 1865.
Lincoln General was the largest of the military hospitals in the area built by the Army to take care of the Civil War casualties. Lincoln General was not located near either the White House or Ford’s Theater. It was located on Capitol Hill, 15 blocks east of the Capitol building, in an area known today as Lincoln Park. The hospital complex included 20 pavilions and 25 tent wards, which provided altogether a bed capacity of 2,575. The hospital also included a kitchen and dining rooms, officers quarters, quarters for Sisters who provided nursing service, barracks, guard house, separate quarters for contrabands, and service facilities such as water tank, laundry, barber shop, carpenter shop, stables and a morgue (“Dead House”). Lincoln General was taken down shortly after the Civil War. Nothing remains of Lincoln General Hospital; the area once occupied by the hospital is now a residental district.
The hospital opened in December 1862; the first Daughters of Charity were sent there in January of 1863. By the end of the war 25 Sisters were serving in the hospital. None of the Sisters left any accounts or recollections concerning Lincoln’s death, nor it is recorded in our Provincial Annals.
For more information on Lincoln General Hospital see the National Library of Medicine’s website: Historic Medical Sites in the Washington DC area
See also: Civil War Washington
The seond item is The Southern Almanac for 1865. This slim volume contains basic information concerning the Confederate government and official tallies of Confederate losses during the Civil War through the year 1864. In relation to Lincoln, the most interesting aspect of this volume is the seal found on the cover, in particular the words SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS, or “Thus ever to tyrants”, the motto of the state of Virginia. John Wilkes Booth is said to have uttered the words “Sic Semper Tyrannis” as he leaped from the presidential box to the stage of Ford’s Theater after he shot President Lincoln.
Today, Ford’s Theater is a National Historic Site and museum, as well as a working theater. See the
Ford’s Theater website for more about Lincoln and the history of the theater.