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The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln | Article

Lincoln's Deathbed


Images of Abraham Lincoln as he lay dying filled the popular press in the days following the assassination. The sudden and violent attack on the president came on Good Friday, the most somber day of the Christian calendar. Many drew the inevitable parallel between a president who died to save the Union, just as Christ died to save men’s souls. The assassination transformed Lincoln, who had not been universally beloved, into a martyr.

Though it is doubtful that 16 people could have fit into the small room at one time, this engraving shows family, allies, and important members of Lincoln’s administration attending the president. Learn who is who.

From Left to Right:

  • William Dennison Jr., U.S. Postmaster General, 1864-66 (standing)
  • John Palmer Usher, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, 1863-65 (standing next to Dennison)
  • Gideon Welles, U.S. Secretary of the Navy, 1861-69 (siting in front of Dennison)
  • Hugh McCulloch, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, 1865-69 (sitting)
  • Montgomery C. Meigs, Quartermaster General of the Army, 1861-82
  • Christopher C. Augur, Commander of Department of Washington, 1863-66
  • General Henry Halleck, Chief of Staff of U.S. Army, 1864-65
  • Salmon P. Chase, U.S. Chief Justice, 1864-73
  • Joseph K. Barnes, Surgeon General of U.S. Army, 1864-82 (sitting)
  • Mary Todd Lincoln, First Lady, President Lincoln’s wife (weeping with her face turned away from us)
  • John Hay, Secretary to President Lincoln, 1860-65
  • Robert Todd Lincoln, President Lincoln’s son (weeping into a handkerchief)
  • The engraving labels this man as 'Surgeon.’ Several doctors examined the president, including Dr. Charles Leale, Dr. Charles Taft and Dr. Albert Freeman Africanus King. (sitting with his back to us)
  • Charles Sumner, Massachusetts Senator, 1851-74
  • Edwin Stanton, U.S. Secretary of War, 1862-68 (standing in the foreground)
  • James Speed, U.S. Attorney General, 1864-66
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