Researcher Helena Iles Papaioannou was looking for some files in the Office of the Surgeon General in the General Archives, when he came across a 21-page report by Dr. Charles A. Leale, the first physician to attend Abraham Lincoln in the presidential box at Ford's Theater after being shot by John Wilkes Booth.
- First page of the Lincoln assassination report
Leale wrote the following morning the events of the tragic night of April 14, 1865. He sent the report to the Office of the Surgeon General and they made a “faithful copy”, Where he has remained anonymous until now.
Papaioannou is a researcher for documents on Abraham Lincoln, an ambitious project initiated by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, the Springfield Museum of Illinois and the Historic Preservation Agency, which aims to locate and digitize all documents written about him throughout his life. Investigators are looking box by box for unrecorded documents that may have something to do with Lincoln.
The box in which this document was found was labeled "letters received 1818-1889"And had a"L”Which corresponded to Leale. She recognized that it was a interesting document about the murder, but was not aware that it was the only document of its kind and that had never been published.
- Photograph of Dr. Leale
Apart from the document, Leale had never spoken in public about the events. One of the few times he did so was on a fully public broadcast in which he spoke about the assassination in a speech to the Military Order of New York in 1909, on the 100th anniversary of Lincoln's birth. That is the version that was published and went down in history as direct testimony of the facts.
Dr. Leale's original report is very meticulous in documenting events happened in the theater and the house of Petersen, where Lincoln was transferred, including multitude of medical details.
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