5 facts you may not know about Lincoln's assassination

  • 1. Lincoln once saw John Wilkes Booth in a play

    Lithograph depicting Abraham Lincoln's assassin, actor John Wilkes Booth, being goaded by a Mephistophelian figure to shoot the unsuspecting president, who is visible in a theater box beyond. John L. Magee/Library of Congress

    Lincoln not only saw John Wilkes Booth perform in a play but he saw him at Ford's Theatre, which would become "the scene of Booth's final act," says Harold Holzer, author of the new book, "President Lincoln Assassinated!"

    Just a few days before delivering the Gettysburg Address in 1863, Lincoln went to the theater to see a play called "The Marble Heart" - a translated French production in which Booth played the villain.

    During the play, according to Holzer, Booth would direct many of his villainous speeches directly toward the presidential box, prompting a theater companion to tell Lincoln: "He almost seems to be reciting these lines to you."

    Lincoln is said to have replied: "He does talk very sharp at me, doesn't he?"

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for