Hours before the assassination, John Wilkes Booth gathered Lewis Powell, David Herold and George Atzerodt in a boardinghouse in order to solidify their plan. Originally, they were going to merely kidnap Lincoln in exchange for Confederate soldiers, but Booth decided that he had to kill Lincoln and other high ranking officials in order to throw the government into shambles.
Lewis Powell was assigned to kill the Secretary of State, Seward, at his home, but was unsuccessful because of Seward's bodyguards. Herold was supposed to be the getaway driver, but he ran off scared after hearing screaming.
Atzerodt was supposed to kill Vice President Johnson in his suite of the Kirkwood House. He couldn't bring himself to even go into Johnson's room, so Atzerodt got drunk and wandered the streets of the town. He was eventually arrested and turned in his other conspirators.
At 10:15 pm, Booth slipped into the box and fired a shot directly into the back of Lincoln's head. Then, Booth lept on stage shouting, and the audience first thought it was a part of the performance because Booth was a well-known actor. After they heard Mrs. Lincoln's screams, the audience realized what had happened and broke into chaos. Although Booth had broken his leg in his fall, he managed to escape the theatre.
An audience member who was a young doctor ran up to the box to find Lincoln paralyzed. A few soldiers carried him to a nearby boarding house, but the surgeon general concluded that he could not be saved. Lincoln was pronounced dead at 7:22, the morning of April 15, 1865 at only 56 years old. Meanwhile, Booth and Herold fled to southern Maryland across the Anacostia River.
After stopping at the house of a doctor to fix Booth's broken leg, the pair hid in a barn in Virginia where they were found by Union troops after being on the run for 12 days with a $100,000 reward hanging over his head. . The troops set fire to the barn and eventually shot Booth in the neck. The other conspiritors were hanged on July 7, 1865.