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Finding History: New Lincoln Report Discovered

Photo Courtesy: Papers of Abraham Lincoln Project

April 14th, 1865.  The assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.  It’s an event that’s been well-documented by historians, but a piece of that night’s history – straight from a central figure of the night – has been discovered…and hardly anyone even knew it ever existed.

FOX News Radio’s Chris Hoenig has details:

Audio clip:

Helena Iles Papaioannou found a report while looking for letters to or from President Abraham Lincoln for a collection at his Presidential library.  But she couldn’t find anyone who mentions ever having seen the 22-page document.

(Papaioannou) “And I began to wonder, you know, maybe no one knew this was here.  And it seems that was the case.”

It’s from Dr. Charles Leale, the first surgeon to reach Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre the night of his assassination, and Papers of Abraham Lincoln Project Director Daniel Stowell says Leale documents with incredible detail.

(Stowell) “He mentions even putting his little finger in the perfectly round hole created by the bullet in the skull.”

From the first moments…

(Stowell) “He lay the President down.”

…To the very end…

(Stowell) “7:22 the next morning.  Leale has one wrist, another doctor has another wrist, and I think it’s the Surgeon General has his finger on the carotid artery, to determine when his heart stops.”

Chris Hoenig, FOX News Radio.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Leale’s only public acknowledgment of the report’s existence comes in an 1867 report to the Surgeon General, which he says is based on this lost account.  The full 22-page report can be seen on the Papers of Abraham Lincoln Project’s website.




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