Chasing Lincoln’s Killer Vocabulary and Questions Prologue Inauguration



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Chasing Lincoln’s Killer Vocabulary and Questions

Prologue

1. Inauguration “Photographer William M. Smith was to take a historic photograph of the presidential inauguration in front of the recently completed Capitol dome” (1).

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2. Fervent “Fondly do we hope – fervently do we pray – that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away” (2).

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3. Scourge
“Fondly do we hope – fervently do we pray – that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away” (2).

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4. Malice “With malice toward none; with charity for all…” (2).

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5. Bind “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 do all that may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations” (2).

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6. Adversary “I have always thought ‘Dixie’ one of the best tunes I have ever heard. Our adversaries… attempted to appropriate it, but I insisted yesterday we fairly captured it” (7).

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7. Illuminate “When someone in the crowd shouted that he couldn’t see the president, Lincoln’s son Tad volunteered to illuminate his father” (7).

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Discussion Questions

  1. Why do you think the author included the prologue in the story?



  1. In what ways did this prologue serve as a good summary of a long and complicated war?

Chapter 1

8. Confederacy “The Confederacy was dead. [John Wilkes Booth’s] cause was lost and his dreams of glory over” (9).

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9. Tyrant “The very next day, the tyrant Abraham Lincoln had visited his captive prize and had the nerve to sit behind the desk occupied by the first and last president of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis” (9).

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10. Vain “Twenty-six years old, impossibly vain, an extremely talented actor, and a star member of a celebrated theatrical family, John Wilkes Booth was willing to throw away fame, wealth, and a promising future for the cause of the Confederacy” (10).

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11. Proprietor “The Lincolns had given the Fords enough advance notice for the proprietors to decorate and join together the two theater boxes – seven and eight – that, by removal of the partition, formed the president’s box at the theater” (11).

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12. Partition “The Lincolns had given the Fords enough advance notice for the proprietors to decorate and join together the two theater boxes – seven and eight – that, by removal of the partition, formed the president’s box at the theater” (11).

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13. Precede “Secretary Welles… wrote that Lincoln “had last night the usual dream which he had preceding nearly every great and important event of the War…” (13).

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14. Preside “At the Herndon House Hotel… Booth presided over a meeting of some of his conspirators he had recruited over the previous months to strike against President Lincoln” (22).

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15. Harebrained “He put together a harebrained scheme to kidnap President Lincoln, take him to Richmond, and hold him hostage for the Confederacy” (22-23).

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16. Conspirator “In late 1864 and early 1965, Booth organized his own little band of conspirators, loyal to him and not the Confederacy” (23-24).

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17. Ambush “On March 17, 1865, Booth and his henchmen planned, like highway robbers, to ambush Lincoln’s carriage at gunpoint on a deserted road as he rode home to the Executive Mansion” (24).

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18. Reluctance “Atzerodt’s reluctance to kill Johnson put the whole plot at risk” (28).

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19. Quirk “Mary was at heart a kind woman, but some critics preferred to criticize her personal quirks – her expensive shopping habits, her jealous temper – rather than praise her good works for soldiers or her absolute loyalty to her husband, liberty, and the Union cause” (29).

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20. Solemn “He looked around, too, and watched as Lincoln ‘looked upon the people he loved and acknowledged [them]… with a solemn bow’” (31).

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Discussion Questions

  1. Why was John Wilkes Booth so angry?



  1. How did his plan reach beyond Lincoln?

Chapter 2

21. Vestibule “Booth could see the door of the vestibule that led directly into the president’s box” (35).

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22. Avenge “Then Booth shouted, ‘The South is avenged!’” (43).

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Discussion Questions

  1. How did Booth’s career as an actor influence his plan for the assassination?



  1. How did Booth’s career as an actor help with his escape?

Chapter 3

23. Henchmen “Booth issued simple instructions to his henchmen: Invade the house, locate the secretary of state’s bedroom, and kill the defenseless victim with pistol fire…” (47).

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24. DeceptionDeception, not brute force, was the key” (48).

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25. Agonized “The agonized groan that came from the bed told Powell that he had finally hit
his target” (55).

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Discussion Questions

  1. What happened at the home of Secretary of State William H. Seward?



  1. How was the attack more brutal than the plan?

Chapter 4

26. Vengeance “Half-crazed voices cried out demanding vengeance: ‘Kill the murderer!’” (66).

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27. Menacing “The mood inside Ford’s became dark, ugly, and menacing” (66).

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28. Coagulate “Leale’s fingers probed for the source of the blood and found it behind the left ear: a neat, round hole, about the diameter of a man’s fingertip, clotted with a plug of coagulated blood” (68).

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29. Mortal “His wound is mortal; it is impossible for him to recover” (69).

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30. Accomplice “He regretted abandoning his accomplice, but when he heard the screaming girl at the window, Herold decided to save himself” (70).

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31. Bewildered “Outside Ford’s Theatre, bewildered pedestrians joined the crowd of theater patrons and hovered near the front doors awaiting the president” (76).

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Discussion Questions

  1. Evaluate the escape plan of the conspirators. What helped and hurt their escapes? Who aided them?



  1. In your opinion are the people who aid criminals as guilty as those who commit the crimes or not?

Chapter 5

32. Regiment “At this moment, Booth could safely ride past an entire regiment of Union cavalry” (78).

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33. Cavalry “At this moment, Booth could safely ride past an entire regiment of Union cavalry” (78).

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34. Mayhem “A scene of mayhem replaced the calm that Stanton had seen a little more than an hour before” (81-82).

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35. Ascend “Except for a handful of doctors, government officials, and family friends who would enter the Petersen house, that glimpse of the president ascending the stairs was the last time Americans saw Abraham Lincoln alive” (83).

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36. Impulsive “The impulsive actor had to tell someone of his achievement or he would burst!” (84).

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37. Grotesque “In an instant, the hissing, burning gas vapor lit the grotesque scene” (86).

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38. Catastrophic “All signs were consistent with a catastrophic injury to the brain” (87).

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Discussion Questions

  1. Who was Edwin Stanton?



  1. What decisions did Stanton make after the assassination of Lincoln?



  1. How are his actions different, or more leader-like, than soon-to-be-sworn-in President Andrew Johnson?



  1. Does Stanton take his authority too far?



  1. What was your reaction to his treatment of Mary Todd Lincoln?

Chapter 6

39. Elude “in Rome, Italy, he joined the pope’s army and eluded capture for a year” (107).

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40. Collateral “He tried to raise some money: first by selling his watch, then by using his revolver as collateral for a ten-dollar loan” (109).

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41. Martyr “The nation could hardly bury its martyred Father Abraham with a lead ball lodged in his brain” (109-110).

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42. Distress “Mudd could not hide his distress. He ordered Booth and Herold to leave his farm at once” (112).

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Discussion Questions

  1. What part did Mary Surratt and Dr. Samuel Mudd play in the assassination?



  1. Do you think they both deserve to hang for their crimes?



  1. Who else assisted but was not brought to justice?

Chapter 7

43. Salvation “In the early hours of Black Easter, Booth and Herold sought their salvation: not in a church, but at the door of a loyal Confederate” (116).

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44. Bonds “He lost $2,300 owed to him for three years of service, along with all the money he had invested in Confederate bonds at the beginning of the war” (119).

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45. Confided “Booth confided what Jones already knew: Booth had killed Lincoln” (121).

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46. Carbine “With only two revolvers and one carbine, they couldn’t hold off a patrol of Union cavalry for long” (127).

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Discussion Questions

  1. Who is Thomas Jones?



  1. How does he support Booth and Herold?



  1. How does his intimate knowledge of the Potomac become necessary to Booth and Herold?

Chapter 8

47. Tribunal “He had to investigate the assassination, capture the conspirators, and organize a military tribunal to try them” (136).

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Chapter 9

48. Jeopardize “The looked like the fugitives they were. Their looks might even jeopardize their ability to receive a proper reception at the fine Virginia households they planned to call on across the river” (137-138).

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49. Crepe “Six magnificent white horses drawing a carriage carrying Abraham Lincoln’s coffin made their way up the avenue. Every building lining the avenue wept with black crepe” (140).

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50. Profoundly “Lincoln’s funeral procession was the saddest, most profoundly moving spectacle ever staged in the history of the United States” (140-141).

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Discussion Questions

  1. Why was Booth surprised by the reactions to the assassination in the D.C. newspapers?



  1. How had the public opinion of Lincoln changed?

Chapter 10

51. Emit “He emitted the three-note whistle” (144).

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52. Sanctuary “This was the night they would attempt to cross the Potomac River to sanctuary in Virginia on the other side” (144).

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53. Tarry “While Booth and Herold tarried, the government pursued them with new energy” (150).

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Discussion Questions

  1. Did John Wilkes Booth plan his escape carefully?



  1. Why did he encounter so many mishaps?

Chapter 11

54. Pungent “But Booth’s filthy clothes, unshaven face, and pungent body could not conceal his obvious good breeding” (152).

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55. Chide “Later Booth would write a letter to Dr. Stuart, chiding him for his lack of Southern hospitality and honor” (153).

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56. Deceitful
“Since his arrival, his deceitful, egotistical, and self-promoting ways had rubbed a number of the manhunters the wrong way” (156).

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57. Egotistical
“Since his arrival, his deceitful, egotistical, and self-promoting ways had rubbed a number of the manhunters the wrong way” (156).

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58. Relish “He relished the company and the genuine hospitality, so different from Dr. Stuart’s impolite, hostile reception” (158).

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59. Dismay “To David Herold’s dismay, Booth intended to spend another night at the farm” (160).

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60. Agitation “If Booth’s agitation about the riders worried Garrett, his flight into the woods with Herold frightened him even more” (162).

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61. Disembark “This time, they steered the correct course, and after several hours, spotted their destination… They landed and disembarked” (151).

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62. Treachery “They were unaware that the Garretts, already guilty of inhospitality, were conspiring to commit a worse offense: treachery. Lincoln’s assassin had just walked into a trap” (163).

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63. Ultimatum “Baker shouted an ultimatum to the fugitives: ‘I want you to surrender. If you don’t, I will burn this barn down in fifteen minutes’” (167).

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64. Scaffold “Nor did he wish to endure the rituals of a hanging: being bound and blindfolded, parading past his own coffin and open grave, climbing the steps of the scaffold” (171).

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65. Lapse “He examined Booth, who lapsed in and out of consciousness” (176).

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Discussion Questions

  1. How were the Garretts tricked into helping John Wilkes Booth and David Herold?



  1. In the end, how did the Garretts end up aiding the Union troops in their pursuit of these most wanted outlaws?

Chapter 12

66. Inquest “To be absolutely certain the body was Booth’s Stanton ordered an inquest and autopsy” (180).

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67. Penitentiary “After staging a false ‘burial at sea’ to throw the press of the trail, Booth’s body was buried in a simple crate in an unmarked grave at the Old Arsenal Penitentiary” (181).

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Discussion Questions

  1. What happened to John Wilkes Booth in the end?



  1. What were Booth’s last words?


Chapter 13


68. Notoriety “He enjoyed both fame and notoriety for a brief time” (186).

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Chapter 14


69. Climactic “On the morning of July 6, 1865, the clock began ticking on one of the most dramatic events in the history of Washington, the climactic event of the manhunt” (187).

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70. Conviction “The rapid conviction, sentencing, and execution of the Lincoln assassination conspirators concluded the trial that lasted through May and June” (187).

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Discussion Questions

  1. How has Booth been immortalized in Washington D.C.? How has Lincoln been immortalized?



  1. How can we discourage this honoring of the persons who commit such evil? Does this sort of situation apply to our lives today?


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