Henry O. Nightingale- Eyewitness To History-
The Assassination Of Abraham Lincoln
His 1865 diary describes one of the most infamous events in American history. On April 14, Nightingale attended a performance at Ford’s Theatre. There, he witnessed the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth. Nightingale recounted the horrific scene, writing:
A beautiful April day. Remained all day in the Hospital. In the evening, attended Ford’s Theatre and in the last act a most astounding crime was committed the President; Mr. Lincoln, shot through the head, the assassin then leaped out of the box on the stage and drew a large dagger and exclaimed “I have done it. Virginia is avenged. Sic semper tyrannis” and made his escape. the President was conveyed to a neighboring house in dying condition. a fearful night is this. Other [monstrous] crimes the Secretary of State his sons and [illegible] servants staffed found [illegible] God pit the rebellion now for men, will how no mercy death to every Confederate my Rebel sympathies, intense excitement all over the City. is under Martial Law.
Henry O. Nightingale (1844-1919) was an abolitionist from Rochester, New York who at 18 years of age enlisted in the Northern army at the start of the Civil War. Nightingale fought in numerous battles, including the Battle of Gettysburg.
Read Nightingale’s account of Lincoln’s assassination