April 15, 1865: Informing Sherman of Lincoln’s death


Stanton writes to Sherman to inform him of Lincoln’s assassination, and to warn him that another conspirator is said to be after Sherman.

Official Records:

Washington City. April 15, 1865 – 12. 10 p. m.
(Sent 1. 40 p. m.)
Major-General SHERMAN,

President Lincoln was murdered about 10 o’clock last night in his private box at Ford’s Theater in this city, by an assasin who shot him through the head with a pistol ball. About the same hour Mr. Seward’s house was entered by another assassin, who stabbed the Secretary in several places, but it is thought he may possibly recover; but his son Frederick will probably die of wounds received from the assassin. The assassin of the President leaped from the box, brandishing a dagger, exclaiming, Sic semper tyrannis! and that now Virginia was revenged. Mr. Lincoln fell senseless from his seat, and continued in that state until twenty-two minutes after 7 o’clock, at which time he breathed his last. General Grant was published to be at the theater, but fortunately did not go. Vice-President Johnson now becomes President, and will take the oath of office and assume the duties to-day.

I have no time to add more than to say that I find evidence that an assassin is also on your track, and I beseech you to be more heedful than Mr. Lincoln was of such knowledge.

Secretary of War.


WASHINGTON, D. C., April 15, 1865.
Major-General SHERMAN:

It has been stated that when an assassin was chosen to kill Mr. Seward one also was sworn to murder you. His name was said to be Clark. He is about feet nine inches high, rather slender, high cheek bones, low forehead, eyes dark and sunken, very quiet, seldom or never speaks in company unless spoken to, has a large dark-brown mustache and large long goatee, hair much darker than whiskers, complexion rather sallow; while in Paris, March 12, wore dark-gray clothes, a wide-awake slouched hat. He is a Texan by birth, and has a very determined look. He had a confederate, whose name was Johnson, but no description of him is given.

Major-General and Chief of Staff.

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