It was just an old book that someone threw away, but it caught the policeman’s eye. He plucked it out of the trash and flipped through the pages.
He was startled by what he read.
It was a 140 year old police logbook that contained handwritten entries from a Washington, D. C. police officer who was on the scene of the Abraham Lincoln assassination in April 1865.
Researchers had no idea the two pages of Lincoln related material existed.
The entries begin with an officer’s narrative of the facts. He states that the president was shot at Ford’s Theatre by a lone gunman, who witnesses were already identifying as prominent actor John Wilkes Booth.
“The excitement was great throughout the precinct,” writes the officer, “but the people were orderly and quiet…the whole force were immediately put on duty by order of Superintendent Richards.”
The logbook also details the simultaneous attempt on Secretary of State William Seward’s life.
“The gloom that overshadowed the nation by the sad occurrence deeply affected the whole force and brought many heartfelt sympathies from the nation’s loss,” the officer concludes.
The logbook itself is something of a mystery. It remained in private hands for more than a century until recently. Someone threw it in the garbage and a discerning Washington, D. C. policeman saved it for posterity.
The officer has donated the book to the Washington, D. C. police museum.
CLICK HERE to view a video of the discovery.