Assassination of Abraham Lincoln - NO HOPE

NO HOPE (Illustration) Assassinations American Presidents Crimes and Criminals Biographies Famous Historical Events Famous People Social Studies American History

This image, from the Library of Congress, depicts the items which were in President Lincoln's pockets the night he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.


The President, meanwhile, was carried across the street to Petersen’s Boarding House. The much-loved son of Nancy Hanks and Tom Lincoln was diagonally placed on a bed which was too small for his 6'4" frame. His wound was mortal.

He remained unconscious throughout the night:

The President had been shot a few minutes after ten. The wound would have brought instant death to most men, but his vital tenacity was remarkable. He was, of course, unconscious from the first moment; but he breathed with slow and regular respiration throughout the night. (Abraham Lincoln, by John G. Nicolay, at page 540.)

Shocked, his closest advisors gathered round him. Mary Lincoln was hysterical and, for the most part, not with the President as he lay dying.

News of the shooting quickly spread.  Written reports, intended for public reading, predicted a very bad outcome:

Lincoln Shot

Condition Considered Hopeless

Will Not Live Through Night Doctors Declare

At 7:22 a.m. the next morning, the President died of his wound. John G. Nicolay, Lincoln’s secretary and close aide, tells us about the final moments:

As the dawn came and the lamplight grew pale, his pulse began to fail; but his face, even then, was scarcely more haggard than those of the sorrowing men around him. His automatic moaning ceased, a look of unspeakable peace came upon his worn features, and at twenty-two minutes after seven he died. Stanton [the Secretary of War] broke the silence by saying: "Now he belongs to the ages." (See Abraham Lincoln, by John G. Nicolay, at page 540.)

Colonel George V. Rutherford placed silver half-dollars on both of the President’s eyes immediately after his death.

Lincoln had never regained consciousness. In his pockets were reading glasses and other personal items.

America, just ending the disastrous Civil War, now faced a "national calamity" with the death of her President. Booth’s plan, however, was not just to kill Mr. Lincoln.

At the precise moment that the actor was in the theater, one of his co-conspirators was attempting to murder Secretary of State William Seward.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Mar 01, 2002

Updated Last Revision: Mar 26, 2018

Media Credits

The in-text image, by Carol M. Highsmith—Carol M. Highsmith's America—depicts the room in which President Lincoln died. The Library of Congress, where the image is maintained, tells us more about the photo:


Located in the Petersen House across from Ford's Theatre, this is the room where Abraham Lincoln died on April 15, 1865 at the age of 56. Although there is nothing that is original in this room, the layout is exactly the same including the art on the walls. It is a very small room and looks somewhat distorted though the cameras lens.


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"NO HOPE" AwesomeStories.com. Mar 01, 2002. Feb 26, 2020.
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