-Written by Franc Rodríguez
Dramatis Personae ix
ABRAHAM LINCOLN-The president of the United States.
MARY LINCOLN-The wife of the president.
WARD HILL LAMON-Lincoln's personal bodyguard.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH-The assassin of Lincoln.
LEWIS POWELL-A conspirator.
DAVID HEROLD-A conspirator.
GEORGE ATZERODT-A conspirator.
MARY SURRAT-Wife of John Surrat.
JOHN SURRAT-A conspirator.
MICHAEL O'LAUGHLEN-A conspirator.
FREDERICK DOUGLASS-A black abolitionist.
EDWIN BOOTH-The brother of John Booth.
MARY ANN HOLMES.-The mother of John Wilkes Booth.
ADMIRAL PORTER-An admiral in the Union Forces.
ROBERT TODD LINCOLN-The eldest son of the President.
GIDEON WELLES- Secretary of the Navy
EDWIN M. STANTON-Secretary of War.
CHARLES LEALE-A young Army surgeon.
JOSEPH K. BARNES-A physician.
CHARLES HENRY CRANE-A physician.
ANDERSON RUFFIN ABBOTT-A physician.
ROBERT K. STONE-Lincoln's personal physician.
CHARLES SABIN TAFT-A doctor.
Scene the United States, in the year 1865.
At the National Hotel, in Washington D.C.
Near the end of the American Civil War, the devised assassination of President Lincoln was part of a larger conspiracy intended, by John Wilkes Booth to revive the Confederate cause, by eliminating the three most important officials of the United States government that included the President of the United States Abraham Lincoln.
Booth is joined at his room in the hotel, by his fellow conspirators, Lewis Powell, David Herold and George Atzerodt. They begin to plot their insidious plan to assassinate the President.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Welcome gentlemen to this urgent meeting! I commend you for coming, with short notice given.
LEWIS POWELL. John Wilkes Booth the actor.
JOHN SURRAT. Mr. Booth is quite a stellar actor. In fact, I saw him once perform in Shakespeare's Richard III, in Baltimore, and he was impeccable.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Yes, Mr. Surrat is correct! I am extremely fond of acting, but my greatest role shall supersede any role I have played yet.
DAVID HEROLD. What is the principal inducement for this meeting?
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. You mean, you want to know, why we are presently gathered, in the room of this hotel?
GEORGE ATZERODT. Exactly, Mr. Booth!
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Gentlemen, we are here to discuss the assassination of the President.
LEWIS POWELL. You mean President Lincoln?
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Abe Lincoln himself!
LEWIS POWELL. How do you reckon, we accomplish that difficult task?
GEORGE ATZERODT. That, I would like to know, as well!
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. I have begun to initiate a plan that requires your absolute assistance, in its inception and ending, gentlemen.
DAVID HEROLD. What assistance, in particular, are you referring to?
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. I am well acquainted about your affinity, for the Confederacy and your dislike, for President Lincoln.
LEWIS POWELL. And what does that have to do, with murdering him?
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Everything, if we are successful in this endeavor!
DAVID HEROLD. How can you guarantee that?
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. I cannot, but there is one thing that I am certain of, the South shall rise again!
LEWIS POWELL. Lee's army is near capitulation and the war shall be over, Mr. Booth. Damn those meddling Yankees!
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Gentlemen, the war may appear to be officially a lost war, but the battle has just begun in earnest. I attended Lincoln's second inauguration on March 4. What an excellent chance I had, if I wished, to kill Lincoln on that Inauguration Day!
LEWIS POWELL. Why did you not have enough grit to kill Lincoln?
JOHN SURRAT. Because, he would have been captured and would have been hung the next day, without a doubt.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. True! However, there was a specific reason to not murder Lincoln.
DAVID HEROLD. What do you mean, by that daring admission?
LEWIS POWELL. I too am waiting to hear that interesting reason!
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Gentlemen now is not the time to get lost in a tedious detail, instead, we must concentrate on the matter that has brought us together upon this night, the immediate assassination of President Lincoln!
At the hall of the White House, in Washington D.C.
According to Ward Hill Lamon, three days before his death, Lincoln had related a dream in which he wandered the White House searching, for the source of strange mournful sounds he had been dreaming. This was one of the numerous dreams the President had, before his untimely death.
WARD HILL LAMON. Good morning, Mr. President!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Good morning, Hill!
WARD HILL LAMON. I hope that your sleep was kind to you sir.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I do not know exactly, what to surmise, about my troubling nocturnal episodes I have been experimenting lately.
WARD HILL LAMON. You seem puzzled and aloof, in your expression, sir.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I believe I have been experiencing, a bizarre episode that is called a phantasmagoria.
WARD HILL LAMON. You mean a terrible dream, Mr. President?
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Perhaps, but let me describe this experience thoroughly. I am walking, until I arrive at the East Room, which I enter. There I meet with a sickening surprise. Before me was a catafalque, on which rested a lone corpse wrapped in funeral vestments. Around it are stationed soldiers who are acting as guards; and there is a throng of people, gazing mournfully upon the corpse, whose face is covered, others weeping pitifully. "Who is dead in the White House?" I demanded of one of the soldiers, "The President," is his answer; "I was then killed by a brazen assassin."
WARD HILL LAMON. I do not know what to remark sir!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I myself have not been able to decipher its actual meaning, yet it haunts me enough to know its indicative relevance.
WARD HILL LAMON. Excuse me, if I interject, but isn't a dream only a momentary distraction of the mind?
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Perhaps, but dreams or nightmares are nothing more than subconscious thoughts manifested that present a surreal reflection of growing concerns, I have read.
WARD HILL LAMON. Growing concerns sir, but the war is coming to an end in my assumption!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. The concerns that I mention are that of uniting a nation and brethren together. Indeed, the war may seem to be over. Unfortunately, the union of the country has just commenced.
WARD HILL LAMON. Let us only hope that the wounds of the country are healed in time.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. It almost seemed that yesterday our forefathers were celebrating our independence from England and a new nation was born called the United States of America.
WARD HILL LAMON. You are definitely, a great man to admire, as a statesman. There is no one that I would prefer to serve than you, Mr. President.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I will gladly accept your deferential commendation Hill. If there is, one thing that I am very appreciative in my assertive predisposition is the commonality expressed, by the people that serve me; especially a distinguishable man as yourself. I know that I can trust the sound opinion of the former prosecuting attorney, for the Old Eighth Judicial district in Illinois.
WARD HILL LAMON. Certainly, they are honored to serve you immensely, as I am in my propensity.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I make the asseveration that I am in debt to their loyal gratitude demonstrated.
At Gautier's Restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C.
On March 15, Booth suddenly reunites once more, with his new conspirators that appear more willing to assist in the conspiratorial plot contrived.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Gentlemen, I am glad that you are here and the justified cause has thus convinced you to return.
DAVID HEROLD. It was precisely that cause that has swayed our persuasion, in the end.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Excellent! Your involvement will be without a doubt, pivotal to the procurement of the success of this conspiracy.
LEWIS POWELL. We are prepared to invest our effort, for the noble cause of the Confederacy. I would give my soul to whistle Dixie and the Bonnie Blue Flag accompanying the colors, beyond the Mason-Dixon line.
JOHN SURRAT. Lincoln must pay with his life, for what he has done. He is a man not to be trusted, with our state rights and privileges.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Indeed gentlemen! We are on the threshold of changing history. Therefore, it is urgent that we effectuate our plan, with such immediacy.
LEWIS POWELL. The emancipation of the slaves shall lead to the grave corruption of our white American society. I have heard enough chin music of the uppity Yanks to know, they mean business!
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. That and the fact that the South shall be invaded, by a plethora of those uninvited Yankee carpetbaggers that shall impose their laws and arguments.
DAVID HEROLD. How are we going to get close to Lincoln?
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. I shall handle that delicate matter, when the plan has progressed!
GEORGE ATZERODT. I am interested as well in knowing that answer.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Patience, my good friends!
LEWIS POWELL. Explain Mr. Booth, how exactly do you expect to be, within the general proximity of Lincoln?
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Simple Mr. Powell! Lincoln is fond of plays and therefore, it presents the perfect scenario to assassinate him.
DAVID HEROLD. You have not yet specified, how you are going to entice him.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. On March 17, we shall proceed to abduct Lincoln, as he returns from an evening play, at Campbell Military Hospital.
LEWIS POWELL. How do you reckon we kidnap him, when he is constantly surrounded, by plenty of guards?
DAVID HEROLD. That would be foolish to attempt, such an intrepid abduction.
JOHN SURRAT. We must be in concurrence, with the prosecution of the plan, by Mr. Booth.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Mr. Lincoln shall not be accompanied, by his formal guards.
GEORGE ATZERODT. How do you know that for a fact?
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Gentlemen, from within the friends of Lincoln, we have an actual sympathizer, who is working for the Confederate cause.
DAVID HEROLD. Who is this anonymous person?
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Soon, you shall know! But for now, he shall remain in anonymity, for his and our safety.
LEWIS POWELL. Where shall he be taken to?
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. To Richmond, the Confederate capital. Now, you gentlemen shall proceed in absolute accordance to the plan, until further notice.
At the office of the President, in the White House.
The President is alone staring out of his window, when his beloved Mary, his wife enters unannouncedly.
MARY LINCOLN. I thought I would find you here, Abraham.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. So pleasant is the day that I was compelled to look at the beauty of nature Molly, yet for some reason I cannot enjoy it completely, as I am accustomed.
MARY LINCOLN. There is much to enjoy and many days to enjoy them dear.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. True, but my soul is burdened, with the tragedy of the untold men that have died, on the inclement battlefields of this great country. It is disheartening, when the power to declare war resides in Congress and in the presidency. The poor conditions of the bivouac of the soldiers have brought upon me restless nights.
MARY LINCOLN. I know that your noble heart bleeds for those men, but those proud men fought and gave their lives for their country and countrymen.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Hitherto, of their countrymen, that I do not doubt or does it unsettle me one bit. Instead, it is the grieving mothers of those fallen sons of whom, I must comfort in their hour of need that disrupts the total sequence of my sleep.
MARY LINCOLN. As a compassionate mother, I believe that even though, we the mothers would rather die than to lose a son, there cannot be a better cause to have served and died for than for the country which gave that son his birth. Remember your letter of condolence to Mrs. Bixby, concerning her lost five sons.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. O yes! Dear Madam, I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously, on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you, from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom. Yours, very sincerely and respectfully, A. Lincoln. I still recall those words professed, and I cannot forget the great sacrifice of those honorable men deceased.
MARY LINCOLN. No one expects you to, my dear. What the people of this nation expect is for you to heal the wounds of the division and return this nation to glory and stability.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Glory is nothing more than the victor's form of pride. However, it is of little comfort and providential reward to me now. As for the division, I pray and hope strongly, for the sake of the posterity that the divisions of our vast country can be erased and the wounds be healed in time, with the union of the brethren and the trust of the Providence.
MARY LINCOLN. We were once brethren, when this country was established, by our forefathers. Why, can we not return to those principles of the established constitution?
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. If only it was that easy Molly. To return to the world that we knew, before this wretched war. All that matters is the preservation of the nation and its irreplaceable Constitution. We the people the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts are, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert that Constitution.
MARY LINCOLN. And the issue of the slaves?
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. America shall never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it shall be because we destroyed ourselves. The slaves shall all be emancipated in the end, as it is their inalienable right, under the constitution to be free. No slave shall be beholden to his former master or be a fruitful property to be exploited. I must thank my friend Frederick Douglass, for his inspiration and involvement to abolish the injustice of slavery!
MARY LINCOLN. If there ever was a stately man to achieve the urgent unity of the country, it would be you, Abraham.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Am I ready and provident to lead this country into the broad horizon of prosperity, in the coming decades of the 19th century, with decisive fruition?
MARY LINCOLN. There is no man that I know of that is better equipped to lead this country forth, into a lasting reconciliation than you.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I am afraid that the country shall require tremendous reconstruction gradually.
MARY LINCOLN. And a dauntless leader to lead them voluntarily!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I hope that I can satisfy that demand, with supernal continence and constancy.
At Mary Surratt's boarding house in Washington, D.C.
The plan to abduct the President has failed, because he did not go to the play, instead, he had attended a noble ceremony at the National Hotel that Booth was staying at the time; and had he not gone to the hospital for the abortive kidnap attempt, might have been able to attack the exposed President at the hotel.
DAVID HEROLD. We have failed to abduct Lincoln!
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Because Lincoln did not appear at the play and was at the ceremony at the National Hotel regrettably.
JOHN SURRAT. At the National Hotel, where you are staying at?
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Yes! If only I had been there I realize now, we could have kidnapped Lincoln, at that moment.
LEWIS POWELL. It would have been the precise occasion to have had him in our sole possession.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Yes, I agree with that distinct point. Unfortunately, the circumstance had altered the course of the plan, with unintended celerity.
DAVID HEROLD. Then, what is the course of action that we must take next?
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. I have not yet determined that course of action necessary.
JOHN SURRAT. Shall we ever be presented, with another golden opportunity that we can seize upon?
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Yes! However, we must be more cautious and observant. Our just revenge shall come, and when it does, the nation shall be totally shocked, with the unforgettable occurrence.
DAVID HEROLD. But we cannot continue to squander any more opportunities that give us direct access to Lincoln.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Correct, but we still have time to accomplish our mission effectively.
LEWIS POWELL. I sure hope you are accurate Mr. Booth, because I ain't willing to expose myself to any failed attempts that shall lead to my ultimate capture.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Gentlemen, I assure you that once we have established the right plan within the right moment, then we will most definitely be successful in our endeavor.
GEORGE ATZERODT. If not then what?
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. There is no need to quarrel or question about the details of the plan, when there is clear resolution displayed on our side.
LEWIS POWELL. That sounds mighty good, but it does not guarantee us nothing of progression!
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Gentlemen, I would remind you that the army of the Confederacy is on the verge of defeat.
LEWIS POWELL. Not as long, as we keep the spirit of the Confederacy alive.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Basically, that is the principal inducement to our task.
At the front lawn of the White House, in Washington D.C.
The President is joined, by his diligent bodyguard Ward Hill Lamon.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. How beautiful is the sunset, when it approaches, from yonder ridge. It reminds me of my old days in Springfield.
WARD HILL LAMON. Springfield does bring back memories, when I was exercising, as an attorney back then.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. You have been an excellent attorney, US. Marshall, and now my faithful bodyguard Hill. There is no man that I have trusted more than you. I am grateful, for the service you have provided me in my presidency.
WARD HILL LAMON. I am honored to have served you, Mr. President!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I remembered the Baltimore Plot, in 1861, when Mr. Pinkerton referred to you, as a "brainless, egotistical fool?" Do you remember that?
WARD HILL LAMON. I recall that harrowing incident!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. The train that had transported others and me went through Baltimore unharmed the next day, despite the claim of Pinkerton that hand grenades and firebombs would be used to attack the train, if we proceeded.
WARD HILL LAMON. It is perfectly clear that there was no actual conspiracy,- no conspiracy of a hundred, of fifty, of twenty, of three; no definite purpose in the heart of even one man to murder you in Baltimore.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. But Mr. Pinkerton was convinced otherwise.
WARD HILL LAMON. The important thing was the fact that you were unharmed thankfully.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Thanks to your bright mind and crafty intuition!
WARD HILL LAMON. Let us concur, on the fact that there was no conspiracy in the end, Mr. President.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. True patriotism is better than the wrong kind of piety Hill. No man is good enough to govern another man, without the other's consent. Therefore, important principles may, and must, be inflexible.
WARD HILL LAMON. No man can speak of such eloquence and not be meritorious of that recognition than you sir!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I do not know if I am meritorious of any glorious recognition, when in this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all; and to the young, it comes with the bitterest agony, because it takes them unawarely. I have had experience enough to know what I say. My parents were both born in Virginia, of undistinguished families-second families, perhaps I should say.
WARD HILL LAMON. I can think of no other president that is capable of healing the wounds of the country than you sir!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. That is quite noble of you to say, but there is much in my administration to accomplish, with the utmost efficiency, despite the preponderance of nay-sayers.
WARD HILL LAMON. I am glad to see you in such a delightful manner!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. So seldom have I had the liberty to enjoy a sunset, and one so indelible, as this present sunset I descry.
WARD HILL LAMON. True, and it is a pity that we as men can only enjoy the pleasant wonders of nature occasionally.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. It is a humbling experience that, amid the considerable adversity of this terrible war, such an occurrence, as a mere sunset can be understood through present enjoyment, by two grown men.
WARD HILL LAMON. War is never such a facile thing to forget, especially, when it is fought, between compatriots.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. My dream is of a place and a time, where America shall once again be seen through deliverance, as the land for hope and boon. That is my conviction! You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow, by evading it today.
At a clandestine boarding house in Washington D.C.
David Herold, Lewis Powell, George Atzerodt and John Surrat meet to discuss their uncertainty, in the plan to assassinate the president.
JOHN SURRAT. We are here, because I have serious doubt, about our plan, after the failed attempt. We must promptly discuss our course of action.
DAVID HEROLD. What do you mean?
LEWIS POWELL. Where is Booth at? Why is he not here today?
JOHN SURRAT. Because I have not invited him to come.
LEWIS POWELL. Then, what is the purpose of this secret reunion?
JOHN SURRAT. The reason that we are here is to determine, whether or not, we should continue to follow Booth's lead in this uncertain complot.
DAVID HEROLD. What do you suggest we do?
JOHN SURRAT. There is a lot to contemplate, after our failed attempt.
DAVID HEROLD. Are you blaming Booth, for the foiled attempt?
JOHN SURRAT. The question is, not whether I blame him, instead, are we willing to put our trust in him enough to continue to put our lives in definite peril?
DAVID HEROLD. At this point, there is no turning back, and Booth seems to be the only one among us that has access to Lincoln.
JOHN SURRAT. That is true, but to what extent are we willing to comply to his guidance? Let us all vote?
LEWIS POWELL. Is there another alternative that we can choose?
DAVID HEROLD. I vote that we continue with Booth's plan?
LEWIS POWELL. I reckon, I vote to continue with his plan!
JOHN SURRAT. And you Atzerodt?
GEORGE ATZERODT. I also vote to continue!
JOHN SURRAT. Then, we shall continue his plan, but we must be prepared for whatever occurrence shall result positively or negatively.
LEWIS POWELL. Let us hope that it is favorable to our cause.
JOHN SURRAT. If not, then we are susceptible to a swift apprehension.
DAVID HEROLD. There is a feasible chance that we are exposing ourselves to its lethal effects.
At the front lawn of the White House, in Washington D.C.
The president has returned from taken a carriage ride with his beloved wife, who he calls affectionately Molly.
MARY LINCOLN. Nothing pleases me more than to see you happy, dear.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. And nothing pleases me more than to see your fain smile Molly.
MARY LINCOLN. If only it could be like this forever and we could be merry, with our children together.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. If not there is always the fortunate hope that you do not grow weary of my unsightliness.
MARY LINCOLN. Never! You are as handsome, when I first met you years ago. Always using humor to cope with melancholy.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I prefer to call it merely affliction.
MARY LINCOLN. Whatever you may call it, I know the good Lord is just and magnanimous.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right, but it is my constant anxiety and prayer that this nation and I may be on the Lord's side always.
MARY LINCOLN. I know he is, because you have not sacrificed any of your principles, for unworthy gains.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I am a man of the law, and my principles have always been predicated on that, ever since my days, as a lawyer.
MARY LINCOLN. What this country needs more than ever is prayer.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I remember my mother's prayers, and they have always followed me. Hitherto, they have clung to me all my life.
MARY LINCOLN. The country shall require unity, amid the reconstruction period.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. As I have declared before, America shall never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it shall be because we destroyed ourselves.
MARY LINCOLN. Has the nation not suffered enough, because of this horrific war?
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Sufficeth to say, let us pray that this great nation of ours learns the haunting lessons of this Civil War with probity.
MARY LINCOLN. It must get better!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. All progressive nations have endured immense hardships and toils to become even greater.
MARY LINCOLN. Spoken, like an august statesman.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I suppose I am to accept that, as an affectionate compliment Molly.
At the home of the mother of Booth, in Maryland.
Booth has returned to Maryland to visit his mother Mary Ann Holmes, and while there he finds his brother Edwin present.
MARY ANN HOLMES. Son, I rejoice in seeing you again. Why have you waited so long to visit me?
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Unfortunately, I have busied myself lately, with my constant performances.
EDWIN BOOTH. Your thespian talent is always a worthy inspiration. It is a shame that your political views have led you astray brother.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Spoken like a loyal Unionist. It is good to see you too, brother.
EDWIN BOOTH. I remember you once thought that John Brown was a man inspired and the grandest character of the century!
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. That was before the North attempted to impose their will over the South.
MARY ANN HOLMES. Enough! Have you both forgotten your brotherly civility, toward each other?
EDWIN BOOTH. Forgive us Mother our rivalry has always put us at odds, but we are siblings, before anything else.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Of course Edwin! Let it remain that way, for our mother's sake and ours.
MARY ANN HOLMES. There is nothing better for a mother to see her two sons cordial, among each other.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. I agree! If there was something you prided us in, it was civility and conviviality.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Edwin, I see that you are fairing well.
EDWIN BOOTH. Where do you call home now John? Traveling the country must be tiresome.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. I admit that the traveling can be brutal, but being able to mingle with the high society of Washington is pleasing. I was even invited to Lincoln's inauguration. Of course I attended!
MARY ANN HOLMES. O you must tell us everything, about Washington and the President.
EDWIN BOOTH. Surely, you must find the President to be an impressive man in person.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. If I didn't make that admission I would be lying I suppose. However, there is a clear distinction, between him and Jefferson Davies.
EDWIN BOOTH. I would assume that remark to be flattering.
MARY ANN HOLMES. Is Washington now that captivating and bustling, as they say. Is Lincoln really all they say about him too?
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. It depends on whose observation is made, and whose opinion matters the most, Mother.
EDWIN BOOTH. How long will you be staying, son?
MARY ANN HOLMES. I hope you stay, for a couple of days.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. I intend to pass a few days here, but I must return to Washington at once.
At the office in the White House, in Washington D.C.
The President is planning on making a speech at the White House, in which he promotes voting rights for the slaves. He is joined, by Ward Hill Lamon. He is reciting part of his famous Gettysburg speech.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. That these dead shall not have died in vain-that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
WARD HILL LAMON. Mr. President. You summoned me?
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Yes! As you are fully aware, I am planning to make a momentous speech soon, at the White House.
WARD HILL LAMON. I was aware of the event, but there must be a good reason for summoning me.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Naturally, there is! You are a fine orator and your opinion I value a lot.
WARD HILL LAMON. I am very grateful that you hold me in the utmost regard.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. In these grim and dire moments of the nation, an envigorating speech is what is required.
WARD HILL LAMON. Of course! You can count on me, even if my opinion opined is not exactly satisfactory to your compliance.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I know that while we differ strongly, on the issue of abolitionism our friendship has endured for years. Despite the fact that we are men of different characters for the most part, I respect your humble opinion. You joined the then-young Republican Party and campaigned for me in 1860, when I was up against New York Senator William Seward for the Republican nomination, and you proved your friendship, by printing up extra tickets for the convention to fill the hall, with my supporters.
WARD HILL LAMON. I recall Mr. President, when you were elected President, I had hoped for a foreign diplomatic post, but received a letter from you that said. Dear Hill, I need you. I want you to go to Washington with me and be prepared for a long stay.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I remember clearly that you had accompanied me afterward, as we traveled from Springfield, Illinois, to Washington D.C. in February 1861. Thus, this trip would ultimately prove to be quite eventful.
WARD HILL LAMON. There is plenty history, between us, sir.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. If they ever write my autobiography soon, then I pray they include you not, as a mere footnote Hill.
WARD HILL LAMON. It would be an honor for me!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I did not summon you to relive the past, instead to enlighten the future of our great nation.
WARD HILL LAMON. I am at your beckoned call, sir!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. As I have stated before, I need your advice on my upcoming speech.
WARD HILL LAMON. I am listening!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. We meet this evening, not in sorrow, but in gladness of heart.
Lincoln pauses and then remarks.
Do you think that is a fine beginning to the speech?
WARD HILL LAMON. Certainly I do, Mr. President.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. The speech still requires more precision, in the details I have concluded.
WARD HILL LAMON. I am certain that the speech will be one of your best speeches enunciated.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I hope so, since my mind is occupied, with the welfare of the citizens of this grand nation. I can recall the memory of suffering varioloid, when I had delivered the Gettysburg Address. If it was not for my passion and resilience, I would not know how I would have managed.
At the tavern of Mary Surratt in Surrattsville, Maryland.
Booth meets up with Mary Surrat to discuss the planned assassination of the President. He is introduced to another conspirator, a Mr. Michael O'Laughlen.
MARY SURRAT. Mr. Booth, I am glad that you have come! Let me present you, Mr. Michael O'Laughlen.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Mr. O'Laughlen, it is a pleasure to know your acquaintance.
MICHAEL O'LAUGHLEN. The pleasure is mine. I have heard you are an actor, by profession.
MARY SURRAT. Mr. Booth is a fine actor.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. I am appreciative of the flattering remarks, but I much prefer to converse, about the issue that has united us, in the cause.
MICHAEL O'LAUGHLEN. I was informed about your intention to assassinate President Lincoln, but I was not given the exact details yet.
MARY SURRAT. I was waiting for your arrival, so that you could explain to Mr. O'Laughlen, the ingenious plot.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. I fully understand its intricate nature, and I will explain it, with a measure of simplicity.
MICHAEL O'LAUGHLEN. Do proceed to reveal to me everything, Mr. Booth.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. We shall abduct Lincoln.
MICHAEL O'LAUGHLEN. The abduction of Lincoln. How do you reckon we achieve that?
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Soon, I shall reveal the details of the plan. First of all, you shall need to meet the other conspirators.
MICHAEL O'LAUGHLEN. Where?
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. At Washington D.C.
MARY SURRAT. Perhaps, we should concentrate, on the fundamental issue of choosing the date.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. I would rather concede to the notion of a definite opportunity than to choose a mere date that can change so abruptly.
MICHAEL O'LAUGHLEN. If we are going to attempt such an auspicious mission, we must be prepared in every capacity.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Of course! I must go now. I have other pending matters to address, while I am in the state.
MARY SURRAT. I am planning on moving my residence to Washington D. C.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Interesting! I shall be expecting to see you there soon!
At the office of the President, within the White House, in Washington D. C.
The President prepares himself, for his speech. He is in the company of his wife.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Molly, you seem to know intuitively, where to find me.
MARY LINCOLN. You have been busy lately that I noticed your distraction. The speech shall be well received, by the majority of the citizens of this country.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. And the minority that detests me and fought against me?
MARY LINCOLN. My dear, you cannot give satisfaction to the whole world.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Molly, you are ever dutiful and modest. You have hosted public and diplomatic receptions, while I have grown increasingly occupied, with running the government and the war.
MARY LINCOLN. There is little that I can complain, as the President's wife.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I know that we have been spending fewer hours together than at any time, since my circuit-riding days, as an attorney.
MARY LINCOLN. All that I care about is the betterment of the country and your sound health.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Molly, you had fond hopes for a palatial new existence in Washington. I can remember, when we first moved our residence here, my clerk William O. Stoddard had conceded, many once glittering areas of the house were run down; even the East Room had a faded, worn, untidy aspect.
MARY LINCOLN. Those were unforgettable occasions that I was forced to be creative in my intuition.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Now, after those uncertain days, I find myself at the brink of a new revolution inherently that includes the applicable abolishment of slavery and the just inclusion of freedom to the slaves of whom many have earned their freedom, through their dignity and bloodshed on the battlefield.
MARY LINCOLN. Whatever difference there may be between opposite minded people, the time for change has befallen upon you to make that needed change.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reaches us, it must spring up among us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time or die by suicide.
MARY LINCOLN. Those words were espoused by you, as an attorney and now you relive them, as a president.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I know that I must bear the ill-fated sin of slavery as a president, and its immeasurable guilt that has ensued.
MARY LINCOLN. I know no man as well-versed in the bible and Shakespeare, as you!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. What I would give to hear some Shakespeare, but I would settle on listening to The Battle Hymn of the Republic played, in honor of our great men that have died, defending our illustrious nation.
MARY LINCOLN. Perhaps we could go to the theater soon.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Yes! I have heard through one of my cabinet ministers that there is a play being performed, in the capital that has received recent success. Our American cousin at Ford's Theater, if I am not mistaken.
MARY LINCOLN. It would be good to get out of the residence and share quality time together, as a devoted couple.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I know that the war has caused pain, discomfort and more importantly distance among us Molly, but I shall gladly occupy my time, in the recuperation of that lost time.
MARY LINCOLN. Ever since the death of Willie, the grounds around us Abraham are enchanting, the world still smiles and pays homage, yet the charm is dispelled-everything appears as mockery. I find my comfort at the Soldier's Home and on occasional trips to New York or the White Mountains in Vermont.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I still mourn his death and carry on my laden shoulders, the regret of his passing. However, as the President, I must be forced to carry the burden of the countless deaths of many fine young boys, who have perished on the historical battlefields, where they have fallen, like brave soldiers of the days of yore.
At Grant's Field Headquarters at City Point, in Richmond, Virginia.
April 3-Union forces occupy Richmond, and the next day, President Lincoln leaves Grant's Field Headquarters at City Point, where he meets, with Generals Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman and aboard the River Queen, steams up the James River to Richmond. President Lincoln with a small group of soldiers, his son Tad and an entourage of former slaves visit the abandoned Confederate White House and State House and make a further visit to Libby Prison.
President Lincoln meet with Generals Grant and Sherman. Afterward, he speaks to Admiral Porter.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Admiral Porter! I have anticipated this day, ever since the dreadful commencement of this senseless war.
ADMIRAL PORTER. I am happy to have obliged that wish of yours, Mr. President.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. There is no greater feeling bestowed upon a victor than the immovable sounds of the triumph and the indelible image of the finality of war.
ADMIRAL PORTER. It is an honor to be present at your side, Mr. President.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Now all we need is for Lee's Army to capitulate as Sherman has sought it befitting of him to do. I instruct you that if Lee and Johnston surrender, I would consider the war abated.
ADMIRAL PORTER. Soon, we will give you that superb satisfaction!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Let them surrender and go home....Let them have their horses to plow with and if you like, their guns to shoot crows with...Give them the most liberal and honorable of terms. Tell General Sherman to return to Goldsboro, North Carolina, and forget the war.
ADMIRAL PORTER. I shall advise him, Mr. President!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I must go now, admiral. Keep me informed of any new tidings that transpire.
ADMIRAL PORTER. I shall! I hope to be invited soon to the White House, as your bidden guest.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Certainly, you shall be invited, when I celebrate the next gala.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Have you heard of the photographer Anthony Berger?
ADMIRAL PORTER. I believe I do not know his worthy acquaintance.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. He was the gentleman who took my fancy photograph. It is one of the first times a president is ever photographed inside the White House, since President Polk took a photograph in 1846. I want you to see the photograph on the mansion portico on March 6, 1865.
ADMIRAL PORTER. It would be my pleasure, Mr. President!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Then, you are cordially invited!
At the east room of the White House, the evening of the second inauguration.
The President is visited by Frederick Douglass, who wants to discuss the issue of racial equality with him in privacy.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. My friend! How are you today?
FREDERICK DOUGLASS. I am doing just fine, Mr. President!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Why didn't you tell me that you were coming today? I would have invited other guests.
FREDERICK DOUGLASS. Forgive me sir, but it is my duty to speak, as I have always done for the silent voice of my people. I came to speak privately with you.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. About what?
FREDERICK DOUGLASS. About the issue to ascertain the rights of my people, after their liberty has been granted!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. You are aware that my Inauguration Day is tomorrow?
FREDERICK DOUGLASS. Of course! And I am thankful that you have invited me.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. You are probably wondering, what shall my speech contain in its substance?
FREDERICK DOUGLASS. Truly, I would be disingenuous Mr. President, if I did not acknowledge that immediate concern openly.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. What do you believe the premise of my speech should include in its context?
FREDERICK DOUGLASS. It must not reflect an apocryphal nature. If I could advise you, I would consider the rights within the compatibility of all Americans, including the rights and empowerment of my people.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Do you believe that I should include the rights of one race of Americans, over the exclusion of the others in my formal speech? Based on this criterion, who from the demanding populace should I favor then?
FREDERICK DOUGLASS. I am not the President, but if I was sworn in as one, I would uphold the constitutional duties of the presidency, as a fair reminder of my obligation. I would speak on the solemn behalf of the disenfranchised and neglected people of this country that by the misfortune of the color of their skin or class, they are marginalized and treated, as second-class citizens or non-citizens. That would definitely resonate, in the entirety of my discourse!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Do you consider yourself Mr. Douglass, a non-citizen of this country?
FREDERICK DOUGLASS. My people are not considered citizens. Although I may appear before you dressed as a gentleman, I am under these clothes by fate, no more than an unmistakable resemblance of a former runaway slave. But I shall be damned, if I remain a non-citizen any longer!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. No one can dare to make the erroneous preconception that Frederick Douglass did not stand tall and defend his guiding principles, with justification and precedence.
FREDERICK DOUGLASS. It is my passionate conviction Mr. President that guides me hitherto, amid the adversity of my continuous struggle. Thus, I was born to be the Moses that led my people out of centurial bondage, whether he or she be a Gentile!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. It is not my nature, when I see a people borne down by the weight of their shackles-the oppression of tyranny-to make their life more bitter by heaping upon them greater burdens; but rather would I do all in my power to raise the yoke than to add anything that would tend to crush them.
FREDERICK DOUGLASS. "I should like to know if, taking this old Declaration of Independence, which declares that all men are equal upon principle, you begin making exceptions to it, where shall you stop? If one man says it does not mean a color man, why not another say it does not mean some other man?" quoth Abraham Lincoln.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. By God Mr. Douglass, if there is anything that a man can do well, I say let him do it. Give him a chance!
FREDERICK DOUGLASS. When men sow the wind, it is rational to expect that they will reap the whirlwind.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I have pondered the actual meaning of what is the truth of slavery.
FREDERICK DOUGLASS. It is the truth that compels me to seek equality for my people. I wish that the color of my skin, not appertain to the incentive of my argument, but it would be foolish to not admit that obvious contrast in distinction. As I said before, a battle lost or won is easily described, understood, and appreciated, but the moral growth of a great nation requires reflection, as well as observation, to appreciate it. I have given to this nation and war my eldest son, Charles Douglass, who joined the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, but was ill for much of his service, Lewis Douglass who fought at the Battle of Fort Wagner and my other son, Frederick Douglass Jr., who also served as a recruiter.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Indeed! The country is in debt to the service of the Colored Troops. You have enriched my knowledge each and every time, we have spoken at length, in our enlightened conversations.
FREDERICK DOUGLASS. And I have attempted to learn a lesson from you that I can apply to my wisdom. Knowledge is the pathway from slavery to freedom. You have the power to make and change history, if you so desired. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Mr. President, man's greatness consists in his ability to do and the proper application of his powers to things needed to be done.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I shall consider that faithful petition of yours and redeem the inequality enforced, upon those who were former slaves and now free men and women of this nation. Therefore, there must exist a pronounced infallibility that provides the recourse of equality and justice to all Americans, regardless of race, creed and religion ascribed.
At the White House, in Washington D.C.
On April 11, Booth along with Herold and Powell attend the President's speech, at the White House in which President Lincoln promotes voting rights for the slaves.
DAVID HEROLD. I cannot believe how one man can unite a cause, such as slavery for and against him.
LEWIS POWELL. He is a crafty impostor, under the suit and top hat.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Call him whatever you wish to name him, but he is a dead man.
LEWIS POWELL. Perhaps, but he ain't going to be easy to murder I reckon.
DAVID HEROLD. I agree! We shall have to find a damn good plan to deal with him.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. We shall, if it is the last thing I do on this earth.
LEWIS POWELL. Well, I am waiting for the answer.
DAVID HEROLD. Surely, you are not bold enough to kill him, with so many folk present?
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Time is the key, gentlemen!
DAVID HEROLD. But time is running out and what if the proclamation of the emancipation of the slaves is truly enforced afterward?
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. That means black citizenship. Thus, I guarantee you that this shall be the last speech Lincoln shall ever give in person.
LEWIS POWELL. What are you saying?
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. By the end of the day, he shall be stone dead, and then buried six feet under!
DAVID HEROLD. How do you expect to do that effectively, without being apprehended?
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Simple, Powell you shall shoot Lincoln on the spot now!
LEWIS POWELL. Are you cotton-picking out of your mind? I shall be seen, by the onlookers!
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Herold By God, I'll put him through, if not!
DAVID HEROLD. I shall not partake in this attempt of yours, Booth.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. You are as much a coward, as Powell!
LEWIS POWELL. Listen, I am no yellowbelly, and I am not foolish to risk everything, for your capricious urge.
DAVID HEROLD. I suggest that we better leave, before people begin to become suspicious of our behavior.
At the office of Lincoln in the White House, in Washington D.C.
The President has returned, from his trip to Richmond to inform his beloved Mary the war is nearly over.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I am home Molly, and I attest that I am a weary from the trip, but thank God Richmond has fallen at last!
MARY LINCOLN. For so long, we have waited for the city to fall.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. O, I made certain that my counterpart Jefferson Davies knew that I was present in his stately mansion. In fact, we had dinner in his dining table.
MARY LINCOLN. How was that White House, in comparison to ours?
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Perhaps you should ask Tad, he was a witness to this quaint visit.
MARY LINCOLN. I hope that I can have the honor of seeing this mansion in person.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. It is good to see you smiling again and so lively Molly. I am worried about your well-being.
MARY LINCOLN. But I too am worried, about your well-being. You look ashen-pale.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I knew that I was truly pale in my complexity, but I did not know that I was, as white as a midnight ghost.
MARY LINCOLN. Those are not my words spoken, but yours!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Perhaps, we could see a play at the theater.
MARY LINCOLN. That would be nice! Have you thought about which one?
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I was told by one of the cabinet ministers, about the play, "Our American Cousin."
MARY LINCOLN. Which theater?
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. At the Ford's Theater.
MARY LINCOLN. I have read raving reviews, about that particular play. You know it is a play on satire?
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Of course! I believe that some innocent laughter is what we need to forget, about the immutable memories of the war and the passing of Willie.
MARY LINCOLN. It has been a long time, since I have laughed much.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Damn this wretched war! But I shall be damned, if this war occupies my time anymore in unnecessary preoccupation!
MARY LINCOLN. Once this war has officially ended, I hope we could resume our lives, as what they were before. It would be a blessing in disguise.
At the room of the boarding house, in Washington D.C.
The conspirators minus Booth meet to discuss the irrational behavior of Booth and the continuation of their plot to assassinate the President.
JOHN SURRAT. I have begun to seriously doubt the character of Booth and the success of this plot to murder the President.
LEWIS POWELL. What do you mean?
DAVID HEROLD. I know what he is implying, and I too have begun to question his irrational behavior.
GEORGE ATZERODT. Precisely!
LEWIS POWELL. What do you reckon we do next?
JOHN SURRAT. Until we speak to Booth again, I am not sure, what to do!
LEWIS POWELL. Then, why are we here?
JOHN SURRAT. We are here to voice our opinions, about the matter.
DAVID HEROLD. I am in agreement that until we address our concerns with Booth, we shall not be comfortable in our decisions.
LEWIS POWELL. It would seem, like a sensible thing to do, amid the uncertainty.
LEWIS POWELL The question I pose is Booth to be trusted, since he is not a real Southerner in my opinion and was never imprisoned like us?
JOHN SURRAT. That is a fine question to ask!
DAVID HEROLD. I am not assuming anything out of the ordinary.
LEWIS POWELL. That is the plain truth!
DAVID HEROLD. I am very anxious to know what Booth has to say, about the assassination of Lincoln.
JOHN SURRAT. We shall have to wait, until he returns from Maryland.
DAVID HEROLD. I think it would definitely be wiser, if we had a plan B.
GEORGE ATZERODT. A plan B! Such as?
DAVID HEROLD. I don't know yet!
LEWIS POWELL. He is correct! The stakes are high and I ain't much of a gambling man.
At the office of the White House, in Washington D. C.
After a meeting with his cabinet members, the President speaks to his bodyguard, about the occurrence of another eerie dream manifested.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. For some unknown reason, I seem to be experiencing another episode of a fantastic nature that remains inexplicable, Hill.
WARD HILL LAMON. Do you mean, another dream, Mr. President?
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Yes! However the dream was very odd.
WARD HILL LAMON. What was the specific nature of this dream?
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. This time I had dreamed of being on a singular and indescribable vessel that was moving, with great rapidity toward a dark and indefinite shore.
WARD HILL LAMON. And what was the conclusion of that dream?
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Of the end that I do not know! Nevertheless, the odd thing is that I had the same dream before, nearly every great and important event of the War, such as the victories at Antietam, Murfreesboro, Gettysburg and Vicksburg. I wonder if these dreams I have are an omen of something portentous that is correlative to the unfolding events.
WARD HILL LAMON. Maybe, these dreams are nothing more than the volatile effects of the war.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. But, what if these dreams are a clear indication of something that shall befall upon me suddenly and provoked?
WARD HILL LAMON. I would not presume anything of that nature, without any induced reflection, Mr. President.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Yes! Maybe I am fatigued by the latest events of the war that I have become unsettled, by all of these disturbing events that have happened.
WARD HILL LAMON. With all due respect sir, you should distract yourself today, with the pleasures of relaxation and entertainment at home.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I intend to do that. I need you to go to Richmond and handle a matter there. I would go, but I just returned from Richmond, and I plan on going to the theater tonight to see the play, Our American Cousin.
WARD HILL LAMON. I shall leave, as soon as possible, but before I leave for Richmond, I implore you, Mr. President not to go out at night after I depart, in particular to the theatre.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I am a success today, because I had a friend, who truly believed in me and I didn't have the heart to let him down. Now, I can understand your concern Hill, but I shall be just fine and well accompanied also. It shall be a special night I sense, and a wonderful occasion to spend with Mrs. Lincoln.
WARD HILL LAMON. Believe me sir, I don't want to alarm you. I am just being very cautious in my approach.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. And I appreciate that concern, yet I cannot allow my enemies to hold me hostage and prevent me from enjoying the theater.
WARD HILL LAMON. Pardon the bold interjection, but I would recommend you to spend your leisure time at home, until I return, Mr. President.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Go to Richmond Hill and do as I order you. When you return, I shall be expecting to hear your fascinating stories of Richmond.
WARD HILL LAMON. I hope to not disappoint you, when I return to the capital.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Disappointment? Have you ever disappointed me before?
WARD HILL LAMON. I believe not, Mr. President!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Then, I shall expect nothing lesser! It is difficult to make a man miserable, while he feels worthy of himself and claims kindred to the great God who made him.
At the front lawn in the White House, in Washington D.C.
The President has taken his last carriage ride. Mary Lincoln joins him.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. A ride through the countryside is always refreshing Molly.
MARY LINCOLN. I am under the general impression that you are nostalgic, my dear.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I can never conceal my expressions from you. I must be candid in my admission, when I say that I have missed the complete joy of the countryside, and to be joyous once again is soothing to the soul. I consider April 14 to be the day the war has ended. We are just brethren and proud Americans once more.
MARY LINCOLN. I could fathom that nostalgia, because I too have yearned the quaint days of the countryside.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Have I grown older, since the war has begun? I feel the recent years have not been kind to my careworn aspect and being.
MARY LINCOLN. I think the war has aged us both considerably dear.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I can understand that strange sensation. No one is truly prepared, for the careless effects of any war. I hope the end of the war brings prosperity and happiness, but folks are usually about as happy, as they make their minds up to be in their importunity. The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time. I must remind myself that some folks are more impressionable than others.
MARY LINCOLN. At times, I wished that this war had not befallen, upon your presidency.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I believe my dearest Molly that there is nothing nobler than the service and duty of a president.
MARY LINCOLN. You have been a fine president to our nation and shall continue, until the end of your term. Your reelection is sufficient proof of that visible manifestation.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I have pondered the meaning of manifest destiny many times and I have thought is that prescribed for me in its contingency?
MARY LINCOLN. Naturally! The Lord shall not abandon you, Abraham. Have faith in him and in yourself!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I am forever grateful to the good Lord for everything. I could not seek any other deity to comfort me in solace than him.
MARY LINCOLN. In my heart, I sense that to be the genuine truth.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I shall never dispute the veracity of his great providence, when it is inscribed in my belief.
MARY LINCOLN. You are the wisest man I have ever known.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. And you are the dearest love of my life Molly. There is no treasure greater than you!
MARY LINCOLN. And there is no man on this earth that resembles your humble disposition so proudly and openly.
At the home of Mary Surrat, in Washington D.C.
After the evident fall of Richmond to the Union forces In April, with the Confederate armies collapse across the South, Booths meets with his conspirators on April the 14 that evening, at the home of John Surrat to revive the Confederate cause, by eliminating the three most important officials of the United States government. The conspirators involved Lewis Powell, and David Herold are assigned to kill Secretary of State William H. Seward, and George Atzerodt is assigned, with killing Vice President Andrew Johnson. It will be the last time the conspirators meet.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Gentlemen, I believe I have designed the perfect plan to execute.
JOHN SURRAT. What is that perfect plan, if I may inquire?
GEORGE ATZERODT. Yes, I am very interested in knowing the same thing.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. You Powell and Herold are assigned to kill Secretary of State William H. Seward, while George Atzerodt is assigned, with killing Vice President Andrew Johnson. I am confident that this plan shall throw the U.S. government into total disarray.
DAVID HEROLD. How are we going to achieve that task, without being noticed and exposing our intentions?
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. That is quite simple! We shall effectuate a masterful plan.
DAVID HEROLD. How do you assume we accomplish that?
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. As I elucidated, we shall eliminate the three most important officials of the United States government. Once again Powell and Herold, you are assigned to kill Secretary of State William H. Seward and George Atzerodt, you are assigned, with murdering Vice President Andrew Johnson.
DAVID HEROLD. How do you suppose we do that, without being caught?
LEWIS POWELL. I am mighty eager to know that answer also!
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. With the right coordination, we can accomplish this task. I have discovered the itinerary of these men, including that of Lincoln.
GEORGE ATZERODT. Lincoln? How?
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. I have intimate sources, but had also a stroke of good fortune!
DAVID HEROLD. Good fortune?
LEWIS POWELL. What does that mean?
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. While I was visiting Ford's Theatre around noon to pick up my mail, I had learned that the Lincoln and Grant were to see the play Our American Cousin tonight. Naturally, this would provide us, with an especially excellent opportunity to attack Lincoln since, having performed there several times, I know the theater's layout and am very familiar to its staff. I went to the Surratt's boarding house and asked Mrs. Surrat to deliver a package to her tavern in Surrattsville, Maryland. I also asked her to tell her tenant Louis J. Weichmann to ready the guns and ammunition that I had previously stored at the tavern.
JOHN SURRAT. But shall this plan work in the end?
LEWIS POWELL. It seems mighty risky to me!
DAVID HEROLD. What if we fail again? Surely, you understand, we shall be hung if arrested and charged, as heartless conspirators.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Unfortunately, my good gentlemen time is against us, and if we are to be beholden to the cause of the Confederacy, then now is the time to act! Before I leave, I need to know, if all of you agree to this undaunted plan? Atzerodt are you in?
GEORGE ATZERODT. I am!
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Powell?
LEWIS POWELL. I am!
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Herold?
DAVID HEROLD. I too am!
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Excellent! Surrat you stay behind. Good luck with the mission, and may God save the Confederacy!
They all proclaim the same and pronounce the same phrase and their loyalty to the cause.
At the parlor of the White House, in Washington D. C.
The President is preparing himself for the night's play, "Our American cousin." He has instructed his servants. He speaks to his wife, before they depart to the theater. Mary Lincoln had developed a recent headache and was inclined to stay home, but Lincoln told her he must attend, because newspapers have announced that he would attend and she acquiesces to his request sensing that the play would enliven her spirit.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I too would rather stay Molly, but we have a dutiful commitment.
MARY LINCOLN. Who shall be joining us?
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Much to my chagrin General Grant and his wife, Julia Grant, have declined to accompany us, for personal reasons that I am unaware of. Major Henry Rathbone and his lovely fiancée Clara Harris, the daughter of New York Senator Ira Harris have kindly accepted our invitation.
MARY LINCOLN. At least, it is someone that we are not in bad terms with. I rather talk about the play, then recall such unnecessary trifles.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Honestly, I must acknowledge that ever since I have heard about this play, I am anxious to witness in person its entirety performed.
MARY LINCOLN. Be patient dear! We shall have enough time to see the entirety of the play. There shall be an encore afterward!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I must confess that I am fascinated to see, the main actor in this play. Shall he be better than that sensational actor, from Maryland, that fellow John...I forget his surname?
MARY LINCOLN. John Wilkes Booth!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Yes, that brilliant actor, that I have requested to meet him, but have not had the pleasure of making his acquaintance.
MARY LINCOLN. I am sure that you shall meet him, and his performance shall be a memorable one.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Do you really believe that?
MARY LINCOLN. Something tells me that shall be the case! Now, as for intrigue, I have read in the newspaper that it shall be Joseph Jefferson, who shall play the rustic American.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I wonder if this poor fellow is able to deal with the Brits hitherto, with much more success than I have had in my presidency.
MARY LINCOLN. You know that it is a play on satire?
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Of course! Yet, I suspect that Shakespeare himself if living would have discovered that we Americans are more than rustic peasants.
MARY LINCOLN. I am certain that he would dear!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I believe I am ready to go, when you are!
MARY LINCOLN. You look handsome as always!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. And you look magnificent Molly. Shall we go to the theater? The carriage is awaiting us.
MARY LINCOLN. Just lead and I shall follow!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. As it was, when we had our first dance.
MARY LINCOLN. Exactly! Time can never erase the valuable memories we have made, between us in the duration of life.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. To death do us part, Molly!
One of Lincoln's bodyguards, William H. Crook, advised him not to go, but Lincoln said he had promised his wife. Lincoln told Speaker of the House, Schuyler Colfax, that he supposed it was time to go, although he would rather stay, before assisting Mary into the carriage.
The final words of Lincoln before departing the White House were addressed to his staff to allow Mr. Ashum and friend to come at 9. A.M. the following morning.
At a shabby hotel in Washington D.C.
Atzerodt tries to withdraw from the plot, which to this point had involved only kidnapping, not murder, but Booth pressures him to continue.
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Why have you asked to speak to me?
GEORGE ATZERODT. I am not sure I want to be involved anymore in this conspiracy!
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Have you gotten yellowbelly?
GEORGE ATZERODT. I am no yellowbelly, Mr. Booth. Now do not repeat that again!
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. If it pleases you, then I shall not! Why have you decided to change your mind so quickly?
GEORGE ATZERODT. I have a terrible sensation that the plan shall fail!
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. It is too late now, Mr. Atzerodt. There is no turning back!
GEORGE ATZERODT. Do you what you want to do, but I want no part of it. I want out!
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. I don't wish to impose on you, but I do not make idle threats!
GEORGE ATZERODT. Are you threatening me, Mr. Booth?
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. You can name it what you desire. However, it is too late now. You are implicated in this plot. and you shall be hanged.
GEORGE ATZERODT. Not if I leave the capital, as soon as possible!
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. You can try to escape, but I have sent a letter already to The Evening Star in Washington D.C. implicating you, with the assassination of President Lincoln.
GEORGE ATZERODT. How can I believe you? How do I know you are not lying?
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. You could call the newspaper and confirm it, if you desire, Mr. Atzerodt.
GEORGE ATZERODT. I suppose that you are right!
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. If there is any consolation that shall quell your doubt, then know that by tomorrow, President Lincoln shall be dead and ours is the just vengeance of the oppressed. Our cause is just, and our brethren must be avenged! We shall be remembered, as martyrs!
GEORGE ATZERODT. Martyrs?
JOHN WILKES BOOTH. Yes! Men of providence! Long live the Confederacy!
GEORGE ATZERODT. Long live the Confederacy!
At the home of Mary Ann Holmes, the mother of Booth.
John Wilkes Booth writes his mother that all is well, but that he is in haste. In his diary, he writes that "Our cause being almost lost, something decisive and great must be done." Even though the letter does not mention the plot to assassinate Lincoln, Booth's mother suspects something strange is occurring with her son. She summons Edwin over to speak about this issue.
MARY ANN HOLMES. Edwin, I am glad you came forthwith!
EDWIN BOOTH. I came as soon as I could! What is troubling you Mother?
MARY ANN HOLMES. Perhaps, I am a bit exaggerating, but I have a sick sense that there is something wrong, with your brother John that has unsettled me.
She hands him the letter to read.
EDWIN BOOTH. I don't see anything out of the ordinary, in this letter Mother.
MARY ANN HOLMES. It would appear to be the case. However, as a mother, I have an uncertain premonition that your brother is involved in something perilous.
EDWIN BOOTH. You know John! He is always occupied, with his acting career.
MARY ANN HOLMES. I do not have the sensation that this uncertainty is related to your brother's acting ability.
EDWIN BOOTH. Then, what does it relate to?
MARY ANN HOLMES. I don't quite know Edwin! Your brother's behavior lately has been unpredictable, and has brought upon me, such disconcertment.
EDWIN BOOTH. But there must be something in particular that has caused you this worrisome reaction.
MARY ANN HOLMES. It is a certain phrase that echoes my concern!
EDWIN BOOTH. What phrase?
MARY ANN HOLMES. The phrase, "I have found my cause in life!"
EDWIN BOOTH. That could signify anything Mother!
MARY ANN HOLMES. Until I know the answer, then I shall not be at peace.
EDWIN BOOTH. If you want, I shall leave for Washington D.C. early, in the morning tomorrow.
MARY ANN HOLMES. I would be more relieved, if you went to speak to John.
EDWIN BOOTH. Even though, we have our obvious differences, he is still my younger brother.
MARY ANN HOLMES. I am thankful!
EDWIN BOOTH. Let us forget about John and spend a lovely day together.
At the Ford's Theater, in Washington D.C.
The presidential party arrives late and settles, into their box, two adjoining boxes, with a dividing partition removed. The play is suddenly then interrupted and the orchestra plays "Hail to the Chief," as the full house of some 1, 700 rise in applause. Lincoln is seated in a rocking chair that has been selected for him, from among the Ford family's personal furnishings.
The cast modifies a line of the play in honor of Lincoln: when the heroine asks for a seat protected from the draft, the reply-scripted as, "Well, you're not the only one that wants to escape the draft"-is delivered instead as, "The draft has already been stopped by order of the President!" A member of the audience observes that Mary Lincoln calls her husband's attention to certain aspects of the action onstage and seems to take immense pleasure in witnessing his enjoyment.
At one point the President shares a conversation with his observing wife. Mary Lincoln whispers to Lincoln, who was holding her hand.
MARY LINCOLN. What shall Miss Harris think of my hanging on to you so tautly?
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. She won't think anything about it.
MARY LINCOLN. I would hope that she pays attention to the play than to our intimacy.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Have you forgotten that being a president is an admirable profession?
MARY LINCOLN. It is a terrible shame that not even in our hours of family time, we are able to enjoy the brief bouts of happiness we share together willingly dear.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I know it may seem overbearing Molly, but upon this night, I am your husband and not the President.
MARY LINCOLN. Is there not an angelic place that we could venture?
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Jerusalem! I have had the desire to visit the promised land.
MARY LINCOLN. I was not prevalent, about your wish to visit Jerusalem!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Ever since the death of Willie, I have yearned to witness Jerusalem in person.
MARY LINCOLN. Why Jerusalem?
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I really do not know the reason. Perhaps it has to do, with my recent dreams conceived.
MARY LINCOLN. What do your dreams have to do with Jerusalem?
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Perhaps nothing I perceive, or perhaps everything!
MARY LINCOLN. Foolishness Abraham!
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Perhaps it has to do, with life or with death!
MARY LINCOLN. What shall Miss Harris say about you, if she hears you speaking such foolishness?
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. She might reach the conclusion that I am prophetic or simply delusional.
MARY LINCOLN. I would prefer to call you, a visionary man.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. That would be befitting and laudable of my stature!
At the Ford's Theater, in Washington D. C.
Policeman John Frederick Parker, is assigned to guard the President's box. At intermission he goes to a nearby tavern, along with Lincoln's footman and coachman. It is unclear whether he returns to the theater, but he is certainly not at his post, when Booth entered the box.
Navy Surgeon George Brainerd Todd sees Booth arrive at about 10:25 P.M., walking slowly along the side on which the "Pres" box was and he heard a man say, "There's Booth" and he turned his head to look at him. He was still walking very slow and was near the box door when he stopped, took a card from his pocket, wrote something on it, and gave it to the usher who took it to the box. In a minute the door was opened and he walked in.
Once through this door, which swung inward, Booth barricaded it by wedging a stick between it and the wall. From here a second door led to Lincoln's box. There is evidence that, earlier in the day, Booth had bored a peephole in this second door, although this is unclear.
Booth knows the play by heart and waits to time his shot with the laughter at one of the best lines of the play, delivered by actor Harry Hawk: "Well, I guess I know enough to turn you inside out, old gal; you sockdologizing old man-trap!". Lincoln is laughing at this line, when he is fatally shot.
Booth opens the door, steps forward, and shoots Lincoln from behind with a derringer. The bullet enters Lincoln's skull behind his left ear, passes through his brain, and remains near the front of the skull after fracturing both orbital plates. Lincoln slumps over in his chair and then falls backward. Rathbone turns to see Booth standing in gunsmoke less than four feet behind Lincoln; Booth shouts a word that Rathbone interprets to sound like "Freedom!"
Rathbone jumps from his seat and struggles with Booth, who drops the pistol and draws a knife, then stabs Rathbone in the left forearm. Rathbone again grabs at Booth as Booth prepares to jump from the box to the stage, a twelve-foot drop; Booth's riding spur becomes entangled, on the Treasury flag decorating the box, and he lands awkwardly on his left foot. As he begins crossing the stage, many in the audience believe he is part of the play.
Booth holds his bloody knife over his head, and yells something to the audience. Booth shouts the Virginia state motto, Sic semper tyrannis! ("Thus always to tyrants") either from the box or from the stage, Booth then shouts next, in English: "The South is avenged! I have done it!"
Immediately after Booth lands on the stage, Major Joseph B. Stewart climbs over the orchestra pit and footlights and pursues Booth across the stage. The screams of Mary Lincoln and Clara Harris, and Rathbone's cries of "Stop that man!" causes others to join the pursuit, as complete pandemonium erupts.
Booth scurries across the stage and exits through a side door to flee, stabbing orchestra leader William Withers, Jr. Booth has a horse waiting outside in the alleyway. As he leaps into the saddle Booth pushes Joseph Burroughs the man holding the horse away, striking Burroughs with the handle of his knife.
At Lincoln's box at the Ford's Theater, in Washington D.C.
Charles Leale, a young Army surgeon, pushes through the crowd to the door of Lincoln's box, but finds it not open. Rathbone, inside the door, soon notices and removes the wooden brace, with which Booth closes tightly.
Leale enters the box to find Lincoln seated, with his head leaning to his right, as Mary holds him and sobbing. His eyes are closed, and he is in a profoundly comatose condition, while his breathing is intermittent and exceedingly stertorous. Thinking Lincoln has been stabbed, Leale puts him to the floor. Meanwhile, another physician, Charles Sabin Taft, is lifted from the stage into the box.
After Taft and Leale open wide Lincoln's shirt and find no stab wound, Leale locates the gunshot wound, behind the left ear. He discovers the bullet too deep to be removed, but is able to dislodge a clot, after which Lincoln's breathing improved. As actress Laura Keene cradles the President's head in her lap, the doctor pronounces the wound mortal.
Leale, Taft, and another doctor, Albert King, decide that while Lincoln must be moved, a carriage ride to the White House is too dangerous. After considering Peter Taltavull's Star Saloon next door, they decide to take Lincoln to one of the houses, across the way. It is raining, as soldiers carry the President into the street, where a man urges them toward the house of tailor William Petersen.
At the house of the tailor William Petersen.
In Petersen's first-floor bedroom, the body of President Lincoln lays diagonally, on the bed. There are more physicians that arrived: Surgeon General Joseph K. Barnes, Charles Henry Crane, Anderson Ruffin Abbott, and Robert K. Stone, who is the President's personal physician.
JOSEPH K. BARNES. I have probed the wound, locating the bullet and some bone fragments. I do not what else we can do for the President. The wound is too deep!
CHARLES HENRY CRANE. I too am in concurrence, with that opinion shared.
ANDERSON RUFFIN ABBOTT. What else can be done for him?
ROBERT K. STONE. We must contain the hemorrhage at once!
JOSEPH K. BARNES. Should we remove the blood clots to relieve pressure, on the brain?
ANDERSON RUFFIN ABBOTT. I think that would be prudent on our part.
CHARLES HENRY CRANE. What do we do afterward?
ROBERT K. STONE. We must continue to monitor his status and stop the hemorrhage from spreading.
CHARLES HENRY CRANE. Unfortunately, it does not look favorable for the President.
JOSEPH K. BARNES. I fear he shall not survive the night!
ANDERSON RUFFIN ABBOTT. If only we could do more to save the precious life of the President.
ROBERT K. STONE. There is little we could, except to pray. It is all in the hands of the Good Lord!
CHARLES HENRY CRANE. What do we tell the First Lady?
ANDERSON RUFFIN ABBOTT. We shall have to tell her the whole truth!
ROBERT K. STONE. As the President's doctor, I feel it is my obligation to inform her of the terrible status of the President.
JOSEPH K. BARNES. It shall be a definite tragedy for her and for the nation, if President Lincoln dies.
ROBERT K. STONE. The wound and the infection have made it impossible to save the President.
ANDERSON RUFFIN ABBOTT. It is a great shame as studious men of medicine, we are unable to do anything more for him, in this difficult predicament.
CHARLES LEAL. Then it is only a matter of time, before he succumbs to his fatal wound.
JOSEPH K. BARNES. I believe so!
ROBERT K. STONE. We must not let anyone from the newspaper enter this house!
All had agreed that the President could not survive his wound, and throughout the night, as the hemorrhage continued, they removed blood clots to relieve pressure on the brain. Leale holds the comatose president's hand, with a firm grip that denotes his presence.
CHARLES LEAL. I am here Mr. President. I am here to let you know that you are in touch, with the warmth of our humanity and have a friend, beside you in your hour of need!
The president's older son Robert Todd Lincoln arrives sometime after midnight, but twelve-year-old Tad Lincoln is kept away. Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles and Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton arrive. Stanton insists that the sobbing Mary Lincoln leave the sick room, then for the rest of the night and he governs the United States government from the house, including directing the hunt for Booth and his conspiratory confederates.
Guards keep the public away, but countless officials and physicians are admitted to pay their final respects to the president.
At the house of tailor William Petersen, in Washington D. C.
The President is dying, as initially, his noticeable features are calm and his breathing slow and steady. Later one of his eyes swells and the right side of his face is badly discolored. As he was near death, the president's appearance becomes perfectly natural, except for the evident discoloration around his eyes. Shortly before 7 a.m. Mary is permitted to return to her husband's side, as she again is seated herself by the President, kissing him and calling him every affectionate name recalled.
MARY LINCOLN. My dearest Abraham! Do not abandon me! I beg of you!
It shall be the last time she converses and sees the President alive. Lincoln dies at 7:22 a.m. on April 15. Mary Lincoln was not present in the room. In his final moments the President's countenance became calm and his breathing quieter.
According to the witnesses present there were no apparent suffering, no convulsive action, no rattling of the throat, only a mere cessation of breathing, within an aspect of such undeniable peace that came upon his conspicuous and worn features. The assembly kneels for a brief prayer, after which Stanton utters, "Now he belongs to the angels and to the ages."
After the death of the President on the following morning, his body is placed in a temporary coffin with a glorious American flag, and returned by a local hearse to the White House.
Powell's attempt to kill Secretary of State William H. Seward and Atzerodts attempt to kill Vice President Andrew Johnson fail miserably. The conspirators are arrested, and the following individuals are tried and found guilty, by a military tribunal.
Samuel Arnold George Atzerodt David Herold Samuel Mudd Michael O'Laughlen Lewis Powell Edmund Spangler (a theater stagehand who had given Booth's horse to Burroughs to hold) Mary Surratt.
On July 7, 1865 Mary Surratt, Powell, Herold, and Atzerodt are all hanged, within the Old Arsenal Penitentiary.
As for John Wilkes Booth. On April 27, a detachment of the 16th New York cavalry kills the assassin Booth having been located to a barn nearby Port Royal. The barn is set afire and as Booth attempts to flee, he is promptly shot in the neck, by a Sergeant Boston Corbett and dies. Booth, before breathing his last breath, he professes, "Tell my mother that I have died, for my country!"