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Re-imagining the Lincoln timeline

July 15, 2012
  • The .44-caliber Derringer pistol used by actor John Wilkes Booth to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln in 1865.
The .44-caliber Derringer pistol used by actor John Wilkes Booth to assassinate… (AFP / Getty Images )

Where does reality end and fantasy begin? In the case of Abraham Lincoln, the dividing line is pretty easy to spot: Take a look at the following timeline, which draws on fact and on material from Stephen L. Carter's novel "The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln."

April 9, 1865: Robert E. Lee surrenders to U.S. Grant, ending the Civil War. Lincoln is intent on fulfilling the goal of his second inaugural address: "With malice toward none … let us strive ... to bind up the nation's wounds."

April 14, 1865: Lincoln is shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theatre inWashington, D.C.; the nation holds its breath until the miraculous news is announced: The crisis has passed and Lincoln has survived.

Feb. 19, 1867: The House of Representatives votes four articles of impeachment against President Lincoln arising out of his conduct of the Civil War.

March 18, 1867: Opening statements in the impeachment trial of Lincoln begins on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

March 23, 1867: Congressman James Blaine, a former Lincoln supporter who voted to impeach him, is found murdered near a notorious D.C. brothel.

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