The Lincoln Assassination Weapons
The gun that John Wilkes Booth used to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln, was a .44 caliber Philadelphia derringer. At 5.87 inches long the gun was small enough to fit inside a small pocket. The downside was that it only fired a single shot. The gun can be seen in person at the museum inside Ford's Theatre and visitors are always amazed that such a minuscule weapon caused such drastic changes in America's history. At eight ounces, the black walnut and brass firearm with silver inlay, is small, but packs a punch, firing a .44 caliber lead ball.
The pistol was recovered after the assassination in the President's state box. Booth dropped the Deringer after the shot, while reaching for his hunting dagger to fend of the attacking Major Rathbone.
The Gun that Killed Abraham Lincoln
A Philadelphia Derringer .44 caliber
The Knife that Stabbed Major Rathbone
A Horn Handled Hunting Dagger
Because Booth's pistol was only a single shot and General Grant was advertised to be in attendance, he knew he would need another weapon. He chose a large seven inch hunting dagger. It proved useful, after Major Henry Rathbone, filling in for Grant, attacked Booth. The assassin fended off the Major slashing down into his upper arm and bicep.
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The Bullet that Killed Lincoln
.44 Caliber Lead Ball
The remnant of the bullet fired from Booth's derringer was found by Dr. Edward Curtis during Abraham Lincoln's autopsy. On display now at the National Museum of Health and Medicine, Curtis dislodged the bullet during his investigation of the brain and later noted his thoughts in a letter to his mother:
Dr. Woodward and I proceeded to open the head and remove the brain down to the track of the ball. The latter had entered a little to the left of the median line at the back of the head, had passed almost directly forwards through the center of the brain and lodged. Not finding it readily, we proceeded to remove the entire brain, when, as I was lifting the latter from the cavity of the skull, suddenly the bullet dropped out through my fingers and fell, breaking the solemn silence of the room with its clatter, into an empty basin that was standing beneath. There it lay upon the white china, a little black mass no bigger than the end of my finger—dull, motionless and harmless, yet the cause of such mighty changes in the world's history as we may perhaps never realize.