Found After 147 Years: Doctor's Report of the Lincoln Assassination

By Veronique Greenwood
Jun 8, 2012 12:58 AMNov 20, 2019 2:11 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Dr. Charles Leale, an Army surgeon, was sitting 40 feet away from Abraham Lincoln when he was shot the evening of April 14, 1865. Rushing to the wounded president's side, he found himself the first doctor on the scene. His account of what came next---all 22 pages of it

---was discovered recently by a researcher looking through boxes in the National Archives for yet-undiscovered letters written by or to President Lincoln. The report, though written in a formal style, gives an immediate glimpse into what happened that night after John Wilkes Booth fired his pistol:

When I reached the President he was in a state of general paralysis, his eyes were closed and he was in a profoundly comatose condition, while his breathing was intermittent and exceedingly stertorous. I placed my finger on his right radial pulse but could perceive no movement of the artery. As two gentlemen now arrived, I requested them to assist me to place him in a recumbent position, and as I held his head and shoulders, while doing this my hand came in contact with a clot of blood near his left shoulder.

Keep reading the digitized report here

, courtesy of the Papers of Abraham Lincoln Project


1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.