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    Description

    PIECE OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN'S COAT WORN ON THE NIGHT OF HIS ASSASSINATION, APRIL 14TH 1865. John Wilkes Booth's plot was to kidnap Lincoln and take him south, to hold him hostage and force his government to resume its earlier policy of exchanging prisoners. Booth had organized a circle of conspirators to help him in attempting this. He recruited Samuel Arnold, George Atzerodt, David Herold, Michael O'Laughlen, Lewis Powell a.k.a. "Lewis Paine" and John Surratt. In time, Surratt's mother, Mary, left her tavern in Surrattsville, Maryland, and moved to a house in Washington, where Booth became a frequent visitor. Prosecutors would later point out that this move coincided with Booth's need to have a base of operations in the city.

    Booth attended Lincoln's second inauguration on March 4, 1865, as the invited guest of his secret fiancée Lucy Hale, the daughter of John P. Hale, soon to be United States Minister to Spain. Booth remarked afterwards, "What an excellent chance I had, if I wished, to kill the President on Inauguration day!" On March 17, 1865, Booth told his conspirators that Lincoln would be attending a play, Still Waters Run Deep, at Campbell Military Hospital. He assembled his team in a restaurant at the edge of town, evidently intending that they should soon join him on a stretch of road nearby and ambush the president on his way back from the hospital. But after going out to check on Lincoln, Booth returned with the news that Lincoln had not gone there after all. Instead, the president was at the National Hotel, attending a ceremony in which the officers of the 140th Indiana were presenting their governor with a captured Confederate battle flag. Ironically, Booth lived at the National Hotel. On April 11, 1865, Booth attended a speech outside the White House in which Lincoln gave support for the idea of voting rights for blacks. Furious at the prospect, Booth changed to a plan for assassination.

    Without his main bodyguard Ward Hill Lamon, to whom he related his famous dream regarding his own assassination, Lincoln left to attend the play Our American Cousin on April 14, 1865. As a lone bodyguard wandered, and Lincoln sat in his state box (Box 7) in the balcony, Booth crept up behind the President and waited for the funniest line of the play, hoping the laughter would muffle the noise of the gunshot. When the laughter began, Booth jumped into the box and aimed a single-shot, round-slug .44 caliber Derringer at his head, firing at point-blank range.

    Per Fostells' hand written card: "A piece of Pres. Lincolns Coat that he wore at Ford's Theater the night he was shot by John Wilkes Booth April 14th 1865. This piece was taken from under the collar & presented to Mr. Whitehand by Mr. Wm. Todd, nephew of Mrs. Lincoln, the coat is now in posesion [sic] of Mrs. Dunn of Washington, D. C Presented to Al Emmett Fostell by R. A. Whitehand"

    Provenance: Al. Emmett Fostell Collection, from catalog, No. 2, item No. 171

    Condition: Very fine.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2007
    1st Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,302

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