Chasing Lincoln’s Killer

Abraham Lincoln Character Analysis

The president of the United States who had led the Union forces throughout the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln was a loving husband, a strong leader, and a gifted public speaker. At the start to his second term in office, Lincoln was filled with relief at seeing the war’s end in sight. He was shot in the back of the head by John Wilkes Booth while watching a play performed at Ford’s Theatre on the night of April 14, 1865. He died the next morning. After his death, he would be transformed in the public eye from a controversial president to a martyr who died for the cause of abolishing slavery and preserving the unity of the United States.

Abraham Lincoln Quotes in Chasing Lincoln’s Killer

The Chasing Lincoln’s Killer quotes below are all either spoken by Abraham Lincoln or refer to Abraham Lincoln. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
News, Information, and Misinformation Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scholastic Press edition of Chasing Lincoln’s Killer published in 2009.
Prologue Quotes

"Fondly do we hope—fervently do we pray—that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away….With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."

Related Characters: Abraham Lincoln (speaker)
Page Number: 2
Explanation and Analysis:

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As Lincoln spoke, one observer, Mrs. Lincoln’s dressmaker, Elizabeth Keckley, a free black woman, standing a few steps from the president, remarked that the lamplight made him “stand out boldly in the darkness.” The perfect target. “What an easy matter would it be to kill the president as he stands there! He could be shot down from the crowd,” she whispered, “and no one would be able to tell who fired the shot.”

Related Characters: Elizabeth Keckley (speaker), Abraham Lincoln
Page Number: 7-8
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 1 Quotes

At this supreme moment, the people cheered the man who, after a shaky start in office, learned how to command armies, brought down slavery, and became a most eloquent and moving speaker. And as he promised he would, he had saved the Union. Lincoln stood in the box and bowed to the audience.

Related Characters: Abraham Lincoln
Page Number: 31
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 2 Quotes

The comic line spoken by Harry Hawk, "You sockdologizing old mantrap," was followed by an explosion of laughter from the audience. The black powder charge exploded and spit the bullet toward Lincoln’s head. The muzzle flash lighted the box for a moment like a miniature lightning bolt. Had Booth succeeded?

Related Characters: Harry Hawk (speaker), Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 4 Quotes

Laura Keene knelt beside Lincoln, lifted his head, and rested it in her lap. Bloodstains and tiny bits of gray matter from Lincoln’s brain oozed on to the cream-colored silk fabric, spreading and adding color to the frock's bright and festive red, yellow, green, and blue floral pattern. Laura Keene cherished the blood-and-brain speckled dress she wore this terrible night. In the days ahead, people begged to see the dress, to handle it and marvel at the stains on it. The dress vanished long ago, but miraculously a few small pieces—five treasured swatches—survived. Long ago the stains, once red, faded to a rust-colored pale brown.

Related Characters: Abraham Lincoln, Laura Keane
Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 5 Quotes

Within a few minutes of the assassination, the news began spreading, first by word of mouth from Ford's, then by messenger. It traveled no faster than a man could run on foot or ride on horseback. Between 10:30 and 11:00 P.M., more than fifteen hundred people spilled out from the theater onto the streets. They fanned out in all directions, like an unpaid army of newsboys shouting, "Extra!"

Related Characters: Abraham Lincoln
Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 6 Quotes

Stanton knew that if any person in Washington deserved a precious lock of the martyr’s hair, it was Mary Jane Welles. She later framed the cherished relic with dried flowers that had decorated Abraham Lincoln’s coffin at the White House funeral. Stanton gazed down at his fallen chief and wept.

Related Characters: Abraham Lincoln, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, Mary Jane Welles
Related Symbols: Mementos
Page Number: 105
Explanation and Analysis:

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The nation could hardly bury its martyred Father Abraham with a lead ball lodged in his brain. They cut it out, marked it as evidence, and preserved it for history. His blood, according to a newspaper report, was drained from his corpse by an embalmer, transferred to glass jars, and preserved. When they were finished, Mary Todd Lincoln sent a request: Please cut off a lock of his hair for her.

Related Characters: Abraham Lincoln, Mary Todd Lincoln
Related Symbols: Mementos
Page Number: 109-110
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 9 Quotes

Whatever papers Booth read, they all condemned him for his heinous act. Even worse, Booth saw the beginning of a change in how Abraham Lincoln was viewed by America. Lincoln was transformed from a controversial and often unpopular war leader into a martyr and hero. Stories reported in the papers condemned Booth by name in the most unforgiving, vicious language.

Related Characters: Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth, Lewis Powell, Secretary of State William H. Seward
Page Number: 139
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 11 Quotes

Young John Garrett, back from an errand at a neighboring farm, reported that the U.S. government was offering a $140,000 reward for Abraham Lincoln’s assassin. The family discussed the assassination with Booth, speculating on why the murderer did it. The actor, still masquerading as a Confederate soldier commented on his own crime and analyzed for the Garretts the motives of Lincoln’s killer!

Related Characters: Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth, John Garrett
Related Symbols: Money
Page Number: 159
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 13 Quotes

Another hunt, the one for reward money, began before Booth's corpse had even cooled. With Booth dead, and his chief accomplices under arrest, awaiting trial, it was time to cash in. Hundreds of manhunters rushed to claim a portion of the $100,000 reward offered by the War Department. Tipsters with the slightest connection to the twelve-day search for Lincoln's killer tried to get their piece of the reward.

Related Characters: Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth
Related Symbols: Money
Page Number: 182
Explanation and Analysis:

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Abraham Lincoln Character Timeline in Chasing Lincoln’s Killer

The timeline below shows where the character Abraham Lincoln appears in Chasing Lincoln’s Killer. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
News, Information, and Misinformation Theme Icon
On March 4, 1865, a gray day in Washington, Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated in front of the recently constructed Capitol dome. Photographers captured both the president... (full context)
News, Information, and Misinformation Theme Icon
...with his Army of Northern Virginia. Booth observed the giddy mood in the capital. Abraham Lincoln gave a speech on April 10, in which he asked the band to play the... (full context)
News, Information, and Misinformation Theme Icon
Planning, Conspiracy, and the Unexpected Theme Icon
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
The following night, Lincoln gave a more serious speech to a torchlit parade about the coming challenges the country... (full context)
Chapter 1
News, Information, and Misinformation Theme Icon
...than the last. On April 9th, General Robert E. Lee had surrendered. On the 11th, Lincoln had called for blacks to be given the right to vote, and on the 13th... (full context)
Planning, Conspiracy, and the Unexpected Theme Icon
The Theatrical and The Real Theme Icon
...him and heard the news that had come from the president’s messenger earlier that morning: Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd would be attending the evening performance at the theater that... (full context)
Planning, Conspiracy, and the Unexpected Theme Icon
The Theatrical and The Real Theme Icon
Booth knew everything about the layout of Ford’s Theatre and how Lincoln would move through it that night. He also knew all the different ways of accessing... (full context)
News, Information, and Misinformation Theme Icon
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
On the same day, Abraham Lincoln ate breakfast with his family and discussed the details of the surrender at Appomattox with... (full context)
Planning, Conspiracy, and the Unexpected Theme Icon
...Theater, preparations were underway. A notice was published in the newspaper announcing that Grant and Lincoln would attend the play that night, and the theater borrowed flags to decorate the president’s... (full context)
Planning, Conspiracy, and the Unexpected Theme Icon
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
...the president. The year before, these men had failed in a harebrained plan to kidnap Lincoln. There had been a number of threats to Lincoln’s life over the course of his... (full context)
Planning, Conspiracy, and the Unexpected Theme Icon
Booth himself had organized a plan to kidnap Lincoln in late 1864. He paid for things for his coconspirators and allowed them to enjoy... (full context)
Planning, Conspiracy, and the Unexpected Theme Icon
The Theatrical and The Real Theme Icon
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
...April 14, 1865, Booth called on George Atzerodt and Lewis Powell to help him murder Lincoln, Vice President Andrew Johnson, and Secretary of State William Seward. David Herold would accompany Lewis... (full context)
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
Earlier that afternoon, Lincoln had gone on a carriage ride alone with his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln. She had... (full context)
The Theatrical and The Real Theme Icon
This carriage ride had forced other important business to be delayed, and the Lincolns were late arriving at the theater. General Ulysses Grant and his wife had not accepted... (full context)
Chapter 2
Planning, Conspiracy, and the Unexpected Theme Icon
The Theatrical and The Real Theme Icon
Booth likely watched from nearby as the Lincolns and their guests entered Ford’s Theatre. He went into the theater at 9:00 PM and... (full context)
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
Inside the box, the Lincolns were enjoying a romantic moment. It was their happiest week in Washington. Lincoln took Mary... (full context)
Planning, Conspiracy, and the Unexpected Theme Icon
The Theatrical and The Real Theme Icon
...he saw that the president was seated closest to the door of the box. To Lincoln’s right sat Mrs. Lincoln, then Clara Harris and Major Rathbone. Booth readied his weapons as... (full context)
The Theatrical and The Real Theme Icon
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
No one heard Booth enter the box; the Lincolns and their guests watched the play. Booth squeezed the trigger, and with an explosion of... (full context)
Chapter 4
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
...that Major Rathbone was in no immediate danger from his stab wounds. He reassured Mrs. Lincoln that he would do all he could and began to examine the president. The president... (full context)
The Theatrical and The Real Theme Icon
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
...Theatre, Dr. Leale was considering how to move the president. It would be undignified for Lincoln to die in a theater, a place of amusement, and all the more so on... (full context)
News, Information, and Misinformation Theme Icon
...However, Booth would have proudly regaled Herold with the story of his successful attack on Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre. (full context)
News, Information, and Misinformation Theme Icon
Back at Ford’s, Leale and others carried the unconscious Lincoln out onto the street. Leale demanded that a soldier find a place to bring the... (full context)
Chapter 5
News, Information, and Misinformation Theme Icon
...inn. They had outrun the spread of news; no one in Maryland yet knew that Lincoln had been shot. The news was spreading out from the theater as the fifteen hundred... (full context)
News, Information, and Misinformation Theme Icon
Planning, Conspiracy, and the Unexpected Theme Icon
The news reached Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, a man Lincoln had entrusted through the war to shape the Union Army into an efficient fighting force.... (full context)
News, Information, and Misinformation Theme Icon
...He ordered the gas in the room turned up, which lit the scene. Mary Todd Lincoln, grief-stricken, asked again and again, “where is my husband?” Eventually, Leale convinced her and the... (full context)
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
Lincoln’s eyelids were filled with blood, making him look as if he had been punched in... (full context)
News, Information, and Misinformation Theme Icon
Planning, Conspiracy, and the Unexpected Theme Icon
...arrived at the Petersen house and took charge of the situation. He could see that Lincoln would die. Now his goal was to protect the Union from what he assumed was... (full context)
Planning, Conspiracy, and the Unexpected Theme Icon
The manhunt began while Lincoln was still alive. The murder weapon was retrieved from Ford’s, and Booth’s belongings were searched.... (full context)
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Mrs. Lincoln wailed that she wished their young son Tad could see his father again before his... (full context)
Planning, Conspiracy, and the Unexpected Theme Icon
...come. Mudd assumed that with the war at an end, Booth had ceased plotting against Lincoln. (full context)
News, Information, and Misinformation Theme Icon
Planning, Conspiracy, and the Unexpected Theme Icon
...rest of his accomplices and their victims, or if the gunshot had succeeded in killing Lincoln. Nor did he know that he would be condemned in the morning newspapers for his... (full context)
Chapter 6
News, Information, and Misinformation Theme Icon
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
At the Petersen house, three doctors holding watches awaited the moment when Lincoln’s heart would stop. Lincoln died at 7:22 AM on April 15, 1865. Reverend Gurley said... (full context)
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
Once the room where Lincoln had died emptied out, Stanton cut a lock of Lincoln’s hair as a memento. He... (full context)
Planning, Conspiracy, and the Unexpected Theme Icon
Other than Lincoln, the executive branch of the government was still intact and no rebel army had stormed... (full context)
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
At the Executive Mansion, doctors cut open Lincoln’s body. This was unnecessary, but they claimed it was done for the sake of scientific... (full context)
News, Information, and Misinformation Theme Icon
Planning, Conspiracy, and the Unexpected Theme Icon
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
...brought: he had succeeded in killing the president! Mudd had agreed to the kidnapping of Lincoln, but he did not want to be involved in this murder. Although he was angry... (full context)
Chapter 7
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
Back at Ford’s Theatre, Stanton ordered one of Lincoln’s regular photographers to document the scene of the president’s assassination. That Easter would be known... (full context)
The Theatrical and The Real Theme Icon
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
...that Cox wanted to see him, he wondered if it had something to do with Lincoln’s assassin. When Cox affirmed this suspicion, Jones weighed what to do. The war, after all,... (full context)
News, Information, and Misinformation Theme Icon
Planning, Conspiracy, and the Unexpected Theme Icon
...Potomac. In the meantime, he would bring them food. Booth, filled with curiosity about how Lincoln’s death was being portrayed, also requested that Jones bring them newspapers. Jones’ simple plan would... (full context)
Chapter 9
News, Information, and Misinformation Theme Icon
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
...third visit to the thicket. He was roundly condemned for killing the president. Worse, whereas Lincoln had been a controversial president while he was alive, in death he was hailed as... (full context)
News, Information, and Misinformation Theme Icon
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
...and began to write his own personal account of why and how he had killed Lincoln. (full context)
News, Information, and Misinformation Theme Icon
...thousands came to see the president’s open casket in the Capitol dome. At day’s end, Lincoln’s remains were loaded onto a special train bound for his hometown of Springfield. (full context)
News, Information, and Misinformation Theme Icon
...the four central conspirators in captivity, Stanton issued a proclamation. He would pay $100,000 for Lincoln’s killers: Booth, Herold, and John Surratt. Posters with the men’s photographs and the amount of... (full context)
Chapter 11
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
...that the dirty, desperate men in front of him were the fugitive killers of Abraham Lincoln. He ordered them to leave. Booth was disappointed in Stuart and later sent him a... (full context)
The Theatrical and The Real Theme Icon
...John Garrett reported that there was now a $140,000 reward placed on the heads of Lincoln’s killers. Booth joined the family in speculating as to the assassins’ motivations for killing the... (full context)
The Theatrical and The Real Theme Icon
...keen to script the perfect ending to the dramatic performance begun the night he killed Lincoln in Ford’s Theatre. (full context)
Epilogue
The Theatrical and The Real Theme Icon
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
...girlfriends, his Deringer pistol and his compass. The museum serves as a memorial both to Lincoln and to Booth. But although Booth has gone down in history, the causes he gave... (full context)