Lincoln's Last Days: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever by Bill O'Reilly, Dwight Jon Zimmerman |, NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
Lincoln's Last Days: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever
  • Alternative view 1 of Lincoln's Last Days: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever
  • Alternative view 2 of Lincoln's Last Days: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever

Lincoln's Last Days: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever

4.2 71
by Bill O'Reilly, Dwight Jon Zimmerman
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Lincoln's Last Days is a gripping account of one of the most dramatic nights in American history—of how one gunshot changed the country forever. Adapted from Bill O'Reilly's bestselling historical thriller, Killing Lincoln, this book will have young readers—and grown-ups too—hooked on history.

In the spring of 1865, President

Overview

Lincoln's Last Days is a gripping account of one of the most dramatic nights in American history—of how one gunshot changed the country forever. Adapted from Bill O'Reilly's bestselling historical thriller, Killing Lincoln, this book will have young readers—and grown-ups too—hooked on history.

In the spring of 1865, President Abraham Lincoln travels through Washington, D.C., after finally winning America's bloody Civil War. In the midst of celebrations, Lincoln is assassinated at Ford's Theatre by a famous actor named John Wilkes Booth. What follows is a thrilling chase, ending with a fiery shoot-out and swift justice for the perpetrators.

With an unforgettable cast of characters, page-turning action, vivid detail, and art on every spread, Lincoln's Last Days is history that reads like a thriller. This is a very special book, irresistible on its own or as a compelling companion to Killing Lincoln.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 5–9—This skillfully abridged and adapted edition of O'Reilly's Killing Lincoln (Holt, 2011) retains the format of the adult title with brief chapters written in a present tense, "you are there" style. It opens in the often-chaotic closing days of the Civil War, capturing the jubilation following Lee's surrender, the events of Lincoln's last days, and Booth's obsessive hatred of Lincoln and his conspiracy to assassinate him. It then describes the shooting and Lincoln's final hours and death, the manhunt for Booth and his allies, Booth's death, and the speedy trial and execution of his coconspirators. An afterword relates the fates of other important figures, and appendixes include a "Lincoln's World" that provides facts about aspects of the Civil War, time lines, and Lincoln-related Washington, DC, locations. Well-captioned illustrations, which include maps and period photos of the major players and significant locations, appear on almost every page and are both informative and interesting. This thrillerlike adaptation captures the excitement of the Union victory in the Civil War and the shock and horror that quickly followed as the country learned of Lincoln's death and sought revenge on his assassins. The popularity of O'Reilly's adult title will drive interest in this version, but it definitely stands alone and will find an audience among general readers and report writers. Chasing Lincoln's Killer (Scholastic, 2009), the YA version of James L. Swanson's adult best-seller, is more narrowly focused on the conspiracy and the massive manhunt for Booth.—Mary Mueller, formerly at Rolla Junior High School, MO
From the Publisher

“This thrillerlike adaptation captures the excitement of the Union victory in the Civil War and the shock and horror that quickly followed as the country learned of Lincoln's death and sought revenge on his assassins. The popularity of O'Reilly's adult title will drive interest in this version, but it definitely stands alone and will find an audience among general readers and report writers.” —School Library Journal

“Accessible to younger readers.” —Booklist

“As a history major, I wish my required reading had been as well written as this truly vivid and emotionally engaging account of Lincoln's assassination. And as a former combat infantry officer, I found myself running for cover at the Civil War battle scenes. This is the story of an American tragedy that changed the course of history. If you think you know this story, you don't until you've read Killing Lincoln. Add historian to Bill O'Reilly's already impressive résumé.” —Nelson DeMille, author of The Lion and The Gold Coast

Killing Lincoln is a must-read historical thriller. Bill O'Reilly recounts the dramatic events of the spring of 1865 with such exhilarating immediacy that you will feel like you are walking the streets of Washington DC on the night that John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln. This is a hugely entertaining, heart-stopping read.” —Vince Flynn, author of American Assassin

“If Grisham wrote a novel about April 1865 . . . it might well read like Killing Lincoln.” —Peter J. Boyer, Newsweek

“[Killing Lincoln] delivers a taut, action-packed narrative with cliff-hangers aplenty.” —The Christian Science Monitor

“[Killing Lincoln] is nonfiction, albeit told in white-knuckled, John Grisham-like style.” —New York Post

author of The Lion and The Gold Coast on Killing L Nelson DeMille

As a history major, I wish my required reading had been as well written as this truly vivid and emotionally engaging account of Lincoln's assassination. And as a former combat infantry officer, I found myself running for cover at the Civil War battle scenes. This is the story of an American tragedy that changed the course of history. If you think you know this story, you don't until you've read Killing Lincoln. Add historian to Bill O'Reilly's already impressive résumé.
Children's Literature - Greg M. Romaneck
Bill O'Reilly is a noted conservative television and print commentator but what many people may not know is that in his earlier years he was a history teacher. Over the past year O'Reilly has received critical praise for his historical monograph Killing Lincoln, which detailed the events leading up to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. In Lincoln's Last Days O'Reilly and Dwight Zimmerman recreate that research and study in a version of their previous work aimed at a younger audience. As was the case with their more comprehensive historical monograph, Lincoln's Last Days provides readers with a highly informative look back at one of the darkest crimes in American history. In order to do this sad tale justice, O'Reilly and Zimmerman take their readers back to a time when the Civil War had ended but not the evil machinations that provoked it. In telling this story the authors combine an eye for historical detail with fascinating portraits of the parties involved in Lincoln's death. The juxtaposition of Booth and his conspirators who acted with tragically flawed energy aimed at a terrible result, with President Lincoln's stoicism in the face of the heaviest responsibility imaginable represents the core of this book's narrative. As the pages turn the reader almost wishes that Booth will fail but historical facts cannot be changed and the clock may not be turned back. Booth succeeded in his flawed mission and the course of American history was changed. Successful as well are the authors of this swift aced and well written illustrated history that does justice to one of the saddest days in the nation's saga. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805096767
Publisher:
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date:
08/21/2012
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
182,443
Lexile:
1020L (what's this?)
File size:
19 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Lincoln's Last Days

The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever


By Bill O'Reilly, Dwight Jon Zimmerman

Henry Holt and Company

Copyright © 2012 Bill O'Reilly
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8050-9676-7



CHAPTER 1

SUNDAY, APRIL 2, 1865 Petersburg, Virginia


There is no North Versus South in Petersburg now. Only Grant versus Lee — and Grant has the upper hand. Like many of the generals on both sides, Lee and Grant served together in the Mexican War. Now, in the Civil War, these former comrades-in-arms are enemies.

Lee is fifty-eight years old, a tall, rugged Virginian with a silver beard and formal air. Grant is forty-two and Lee's exact opposite: dark-haired and sloppy in dress, a small, introspective man who has a fondness for cigars and a close relationship with horses. When Grant was a baby, his mother's friends were shocked to see that Hannah Grant allowed her son to crawl between their horses' feet!

Like Lee, Grant possesses a genius for warfare — indeed, he is capable of little else. When the Civil War began, he was a washed-up, barely employed West Point graduate and veteran of the Mexican War who had been forced out of military service, done in by lonely western outposts and an inability to hold his liquor. It was only through luck and connections that Grant secured a commission in an Illinois regiment. At the battles of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson in Tennessee in February 1862, Grant and his army delivered the first major victories to the Union. And Grant kept on winning. As the war continued, Lincoln gave him more and more responsibility. Now Grant is general in chief — the commander of all the Union armies from Virginia down to New Orleans.

At Petersburg, the Confederate lines are arranged in a jagged horseshoe, facing south — thirty-seven miles of trenches and fortifications in all. The outer edges of the horseshoe are two miles from the city center, under the commands of Confederate A. P. Hill on the right and John B. Gordon on the left.


* * *

The day before, at the decisive Battle of Five Forks, Union General Phil Sheridan and 45,000 men had captured a pivotal crossing, cutting off the main road to North Carolina.

It was long after dark when word of the great victory reached Grant. Without pausing, Grant pushed his advantage. He ordered another attack. He hoped this would be the blow to crush Lee and his army once and for all. His soldiers would attack just before dawn, but he ordered the artillery fire to begin immediately.


* * *

The Union attack is divided into two waves. Major General Horatio Wright, leading the 24,000 men in his Sixth Corps, charges first and shatters the right side of Lee's line. Wright's attack is so well choreographed that many of his soldiers are literally miles in front of the main Union force. As Wright's men reorganize to prepare for the next stage of attack, the rest of the Union army strikes.

Meanwhile, Lee and his assistants, the generals James "Pete" Longstreet and A. P. Hill, gaze out at Wright's army from the front porch of Lee's Confederate headquarters, the Turnbull house. The three of them stand there as the sun rises high enough to confirm their worst fears: every soldier they can see wears blue.

A horrified A. P. Hill realizes that his army is being crushed, and he jumps on his horse to try to stop the disaster in the making. He is shot and killed by Union soldiers.

Lee faces the sobering fact that Union soldiers are just a few short steps from controlling the main road he plans to use for his retreat. He will be cut off if the bluecoats in the pasture continue their advance.

Fortune, however, is smiling on the Confederates. Those Union soldiers have no idea that Lee himself is right in front of them. If they did, they would attack without ceasing, because any soldier who captured Lee would become a legend.

The Union scouts can clearly see the small artillery battery outside Lee's headquarters, and they assume that it is part of a much larger rebel force hiding out of sight. Rather than rush forward, the scouts hesitate.

Seizing the moment, Lee escapes north across the Appomattox River and then turns west. His goal is the Richmond and Danville Railroad Line at Amelia Court House, where he has arranged to store food and supplies. He issues orders to the commanders of his corps to follow. At one point, Lee pauses to write a letter to Confederate president Jefferson Davis, saying that his army is in retreat and can no longer defend Richmond. Davis and the Confederate government must abandon the city or risk capture.

The final chase has begun.

CHAPTER 2

MONDAY, APRIL 3, 1865Petersburg, Virginia


Lee's retreat is unruly and time-consuming, despite the sense of urgency. Grant watches the bridges — they are packed with Confederate soldiers. A cannon barrage could kill hundreds instantly, and Grant's cannons are certainly close enough to do the job. All he has to do is give the command.

But he hesitates.

For now, his plan is to capture the Confederates, not to kill them. Grant has already taken many prisoners. He watches these rebels escape, scheming to find a way to capture even more.

Grant hands a courier the orders. Then he telegraphs President Lincoln. Earlier in the week, he had sent the president a message, asking him to come to City Point to witness the capture of Petersburg. Now, with Lee's army out of Petersburg and the Union army in control of the city, Grant asks the president to meet him there.

As soon as the Army of Northern Virginia began retreating from Petersburg, Grant had ordered part of his army to head north and capture Richmond. Now he hopes to hear about the battle for Richmond before the president arrives. Capturing Lee's army is of the utmost importance, but both Grant and Lincoln also believe that a Confederacy without a capital is a doomsday scenario for the rebels. Delivering the news that Richmond has fallen would be a delightful way to kick off their meeting.

The sound of horseshoes on cobblestones echoes down the quiet street. It's Lincoln. Stepping down from his horse, Lincoln walks through the main gate of the house Grant has chosen for their meeting. He takes the walkway in long, eager strides, a smile suddenly stretching across his face, his deep fatigue vanishing at the sight of his favorite general. When he shakes Grant's hand, it is with great gusto.

The two men sit on the veranda, taking no notice of the cold. Their conversation shows deep mutual respect. Lincoln and Grant talk for ninety minutes. Although Grant had hoped to receive word of Richmond's fall while he was with the president, too much time has passed. He must leave to join his army and continue the pursuit of Lee. President Lincoln and General Grant shake hands, then Grant gallops off to join the Army of the Potomac.

Before leaving, Lincoln also shakes hands with some people in the crowd gathered in front of the meeting place. He then rides back to City Point. The way is littered with hundreds of dead soldiers, their unburied bodies swollen by death and sometimes stripped bare by scavengers. Lincoln doesn't look away.

Upon his return to City Point, he receives the reward Grant had hoped to deliver personally. A courier hands the president a telegram informing him that Richmond has fallen.

"Thank God that I have lived to see this," Lincoln cries. "It seems to me that I have been dreaming a horrid dream for four years, and now the nightmare is gone."

But the nightmare's not really gone. President Lincoln has just twelve days to live.

CHAPTER 3

TUESDAY, APRIL 4, 1865 Richmond, Virginia


Abraham Lincoln stands on the deck of the USS Malvern as the warship chugs slowly and cautiously up the James River toward Richmond. The channel is choked with burning warships and the floating corpses of horses. Deadly antiship mines known as torpedoes bob on the surface, drifting with the current, ready to explode the instant they come into contact with a vessel.

The Confederate capital is now in Union hands. Lincoln can clearly see that Richmond — or what's left of it — barely resembles the refined city it was. The sunken ships and torpedoes in the harbor tell only some of the story. Part of Richmond is gone, burned to the ground.

When it becomes too dangerous for the Malvern to get any closer, Lincoln is rowed to shore. Finally, he steps from the barge and up onto a landing.

What Lincoln sees now can only be described as shocking.

The Confederate attempt to destroy supplies and arms to keep them out of the approaching Union army's hands has escalated out of control. In a cruel irony, it was not the Union army that laid waste to the city. Richmond was destroyed by its own sons.

Richmond had still been in flames on the morning of April 3, when the Union troops arrived. Brick facades and chimneys still stood, but wooden frames and roofs had been incinerated. Smoldering ruins and the sporadic whistle of artillery greeted the Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth Corps of the Union army.

The instant the long blue line marched into town, the slaves of Richmond were free. They were stunned to see that the Twenty-fifth contained black soldiers from a new branch of the army known as the USCT — the United States Colored Troops.

Lieutenant Johnston Livingston de Peyster, a member of the staff of Twenty-fifth Corps commander Major General Godfrey Wetzel, galloped his horse straight to the capitol building. "I sprang from my horse," he wrote proudly, and "rushed up to the roof." In his hand was an American flag. Dashing to the flagpole, he hoisted the Stars and Stripes over Richmond. The city was Confederate no more.

That particular flag had thirty-six stars, a new number, because of Nevada's recent admission to the Union. By tradition, this new flag would not become official until the Fourth of July. It was the flag of the America to come — the postwar America, united and expanding. It was, in other words, the flag of Abraham Lincoln's dreams.

CHAPTER 4

TUESDAY, APRIL 4, 1865 Richmond, Virginia


Abraham Lincoln has never fought in battle. In his short three-month enlistment during the Black Hawk War in 1832, he never saw combat. He is a politician, and politicians are seldom given the chance to play the role of conquering hero. But this is Lincoln's war. It always has been. To Lincoln goes the honor of conquering hero.

No one knows this better than the freed slaves of Richmond. They gather around Lincoln, so alarming the men who rowed him ashore that they form a protective ring around the president. The sailors maintain this ring around Lincoln as he marches through the city, even as the admiring crowd grows to hundreds.

The white citizens of Richmond, tight-lipped and hollow-eyed, take it all in. They make no move, no gesture, no sound to welcome him. "Every window was crowded with heads," one sailor will remember. "But it was a silent crowd. There was something oppressive in those thousands of watchers without a sound, either of welcome or hatred. I think we would have welcomed a yell of defiance."

Soon Lincoln finds himself on the corner of Twelfth and Clay Streets, staring at the former home of Jefferson Davis. Lincoln steps past the sentry boxes, grasps the wrought-iron railing, and marches up the steps into the Confederate White House.

He is shown into a small room with floor-to-ceiling windows and crossed cavalry swords over the door. "This was President Davis's office," a housekeeper says respectfully.

Lincoln's eyes roam over the elegant wood desk, which Davis had so thoughtfully tidied before running off two days earlier. "Then this must be President Davis's chair," he says with a grin, sinking into its burgundy padding. He crosses his legs and leans back.

Lincoln can afford to relax. He has Richmond. The Confederacy is doomed. All the president needs now is for Grant to finish the rest of the job, and then he can get to the work of reunification that will be known to history as Reconstruction.

CHAPTER 5

TUESDAY, APRIL 4, 1865Amelia Court House, Virginia


The day-and-a-half trudge to Amelia Court House, where Lee and his soldiers hope to find rations, began optimistically enough, with Lee's men happy to finally be away from Petersburg and looking forward to their first real meal in months. Lee's optimism slowly filtered down into the ranks. Against all odds, his men regained their confidence as the trenches of Petersburg receded into the distance.

By the time they reach Amelia Court House, on April 4, electricity sizzles through the ranks. The men are speaking of hope and are confident of victory as they wonder where and when they will fight the Yankees once again.

It's just before noon when they arrive. Lee quietly gives the order to unload the supply train and distribute the food in an organized fashion. The last thing he wants is for his army to give in to their hunger and rush the train. Orderliness is crucial for an effective fighting force.

The train doors are yanked open. Inside, huge wooden containers are stacked floor to ceiling. Lee's excited men hurriedly jerk the boxes down onto the ground and pry them open.

Then, horror!

This is what those boxes contain: 200 crates of ammunition, 164 cartons of artillery harnesses, and 96 carts to carry ammunition.

There is no food.

Lee's optimism is replaced by defeat. "His face was still calm, as it always was," wrote one enlisted man. "But his carriage was no longer erect, as his soldiers had been used to seeing it. The troubles of these last days had already plowed great furrows in his forehead. His eyes were red as if with weeping, his cheeks sunken and haggard, his face colorless. No one who looked upon him then, as he stood there in full view of the disastrous end, can ever forget the intense agony written on his features."

Lee sends wagons out to scour the countryside in search of food. He anxiously awaits their return, praying they will be overflowing with grains and smoked meats and leading calves and pigs to be slaughtered.

The wagons come back empty. The countryside is bare.

Lee must move before Grant finds him. His fallback plan is yet another forced march, this one to the city of Danville, where more than a million rations are supposed to await. Danville, however, is a hundred miles south. As impossible as it is to think of marching an army that far on empty stomachs, it is Lee's only hope.

CHAPTER 6

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5, 1865 Amelia Court House, Virginia


A cold rain falls on the morning of April 5. Lee gives the order to move out. It is, in the mind of one Confederate soldier, "the cruelest marching order the commanders had ever given the men in four years of fighting." Units of infantry, cavalry, and artillery begin trudging down the road. Danville is a four-day march — if they have the energy to make it. "It is now," one soldier writes in his diary, "a race of life or death."

They get only seven miles before coming to a dead halt at a Union roadblock outside Jetersville. At first there appears to be no more than a small cavalry force. But a quick look through Lee's field glasses reveals the truth. Union soldiers are digging trenches and fortifications along the road and reinforcing them with fallen trees and fence rails to protect themselves from rebel bullets.

Lee gallops his horse, Traveller, to the front and considers the situation. Sometimes knowing when not to fight is just as important to a general's success as knowing how to fight.

And this is not a time to fight.

Lee quickly turns his army west in a big loop toward the town of Paineville. The men don't travel down one single road but spread out along a series of parallel roads connecting the hamlets and burgs of rural Virginia. The countryside is rolling and open in some places, forested in others, and sometimes swampy. Creeks and rivers overflow their banks from the recent rains, drenching the troops at every crossing.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Lincoln's Last Days by Bill O'Reilly, Dwight Jon Zimmerman. Copyright © 2012 Bill O'Reilly. Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Bill O'Reilly is the anchor of The O'Reilly Factor, the highest-rated cable news show in the country. He is the author of several number-one bestselling books.
Dwight Jon Zimmerman has adapted books for young readers by distinguished authors such as Dee Brown and James McPherson. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.


Bill O'Reilly is the anchor of The O'Reilly Factor, the highest-rated cable news show in the country. He is the author of many number-one bestselling books, including Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy, Killing Jesus, and Killing Patton.
DWIGHT JON ZIMMERMAN has written extensively on military-history subjects for American Heritage, the Naval Institute Press, Vietnam Magazine, and numerous military-themed publications. His books include The Hammer and the Anvil and The Vietnam War: A Graphic History. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >