On the evening of April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. The assassination was motivated by Booth’s dislike of Lincoln’s policies towards the South, which included ending slavery and preventing Confederate leaders from returning to power after the Civil War.
Lincoln was shot while attending a play at Ford’s Theater with his wife Mary Todd Lincoln and two guests, Clara Harris and Major Henry Rathbone. The president had been warned that an assassination plot was in motion against him, but had disregarded it. While laughing at a scene from Shakespeare’s “Our American Cousin,” John Wilkes Booth crept up behind him and fired a single bullet into his brain at point blank range. The bullet entered through Lincoln’s left cheek and exited through the right side of his skull behind his ear. The President died nine hours later at 7:22 am at age 56 on April 15th 1865. His body lay in state for one week and thousands of mourners filed past to pay tribute to their fallen leader before he was laid to rest in Oak Ridge Cemetery.
Booth was caught a few days later and killed by Union soldiers outside of Fort Surratts in Virginia.
Lincoln’s assassination was a turning point in the Civil War. In particular, it spurred Grant to launch a more aggressive campaign against the Confederacy than any other Union general had done up until that point.