April 26th, 1865–The Death of Booth

Twelve days after Booth shot Lincoln the assassin was cornered in a northern Virginian barn. Union soldiers and detectives began to burn the barn, and as Booth raised his rifle a soldier by the name of Boston Corbett shot Booth in the lower neck above the clavicle. Booth was paralyzed, dragged out the barn, and died a few hours later at sunrise.

Click here to view a modern-day retracing of Booth’s escape route with a map and photos from then and now.

Click here to learn about the largest surrender that occurred on the same day at the Bennett Place in North Carolina between Generals Johnston and Sherman.

AND click below to hear about how Booth’s ego betrayed his cause.


April 19th, 1865–Lincoln’s Funeral Procession

“Dedicated to the memory of Abraham Lincoln, the Funeral March was composed by Brevet Major General John G. Barnard. The United States Marine Band played it on April 19, 1865 as part of the mile long funeral procession from the White House to the U.S. Capitol. The band, consisting of thirty-five pieces, and a drum corps, consisting of twenty-two pieces, was under the conductorship of Francis Scala, the leader of the band.

This recording of Barnard’s Funeral March was performed by the Marine Band on Jan. 27, 2009 under the direction of Marine Band Director Col. Michael J. Colburn. It is accompanied in this video by imagery from April 19, 1865 and text evoking the mood of the American people at this tragic time in our nation’s history.”

Thanks to Karl Jackson of the United States Marine Band for sharing this beautiful recording.

April 14th, 1865–The Assassination of Lincoln

The amount of ink dedicated to Lincoln since his death is evident in the three-story tall tower of books that stands across the street from Ford’s Theatre in the lobby of Ford’s Theatre Society’s Center for Education and Leadership.

There are plenty of respectable sources to learn about the life of the 16th U.S. President. I will not attempt to compete with their good work, but you can listen to my podcast, which will give you a list of what I believe are the eight of the most intriguing facts surrounding the assassination. These are things that personally fascinate me about that day in April 150 years ago.

Click here to see the “Google View” from the stage of Ford’s Theatre, but remember the house would’ve been filled with individual wooden chairs in 1865, not those plush and comfy ones.

Click here to see the enthralling digital project created by Ford’s Theatre entitled Remembering Lincoln.

Click here to see to watch a segment of BookTV on CSPAN with a barrage of historical facts from James Swanson and Michael Kauffman.

Click here to read the New Yorker article I reference in my podcast over the debate about what was said at the death bed and on the stage. (i.e. Ages or angels? Latin or English?)

AND, click below to listen to my podcast that lists eight things that I think are the most intriguing facts about April 14th, 1865. (The photo of Lincoln is the last portrait taken of him before he passed away.)

April 9th, 1865 — Appomattox Court House

The war came to a symbolic end when General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, which is the name of the town–not the building–they sat down at to discuss and sign terms. (The building was the McLean House).

Click here to discover how the Civil War Trust really has the best site to learn about the end of the war.

Click here to read Grant’s account of the day from his memoirs.  (Or, click here to have it read to you.)

Click below to listen this week’s podcast about the surrender on April 9th, 1865.


The National Park Service map  below shows the route Lee used from Petersburg to try to escape from Grant.

(N.B. Right click and open in a new tab to keep listening while you study the map.)


April 2nd, 1865 — The Fall of Richmond

It started with a telegram delivered in church. The recipient was Jefferson Davis and the sender was Robert E. Lee.

In the two days that followed, Richmond was evacuated, burned, then occupied and emancipated.

Click here to view images of the aftermath.

Click here to see “Today in History” page from the Library of Congress.

Click below to hear a podcast about the fall of Richmond (which includes descriptions of drunken, shelled-shocked denizens and relic hunters).

Richmond Burning


This site happily serves as partial fullfillment of a Digital Public History course at the University of Maryland

T.S. Eliot wrote, “April is the cruellest month,” and that quote helped inspire me to focus on the last month of the Civil War for this project. I will cover four to five significant events that transpired in April 1865 that gave a grievous ending to a brutal war. I will also attempt to post on dates that correspond to the same dates 150 years ago. I will attempt to address a simple question: Why should we know about this history today?

Thanks for listening, and I hope you learn something.

Photo featured above is of Richmond in early April 1865 (courtesy of the Library of Congress). The music you will hear in the recordings is courtesy of Bradley Carter.