Civil War Academy
Civil War
Custom Search


Henry Rathbone

Major Henry Rathbone

(1837-1911)




Henry Rathbone joined the Union army in 1861 and during the Civil War he became a major very quickly. His legacy was sealed when he and his fiancée Clara Harris, were invited by the first lady, Mary Lincoln to Ford’s Theater on April 14th 1865. Henry Rathbone was the man that tried to save President Lincoln or at least apprehend John Wilkes Booth, after Booth shot Lincoln at Ford’s Theater. The all too real scene played out like so many before that were acted out at the famous theater, but this time it was for real and this time it involved killing the President of the United States of America.

On guard was a constable at the entrance of the balcony where the Lincoln's enjoyed the play, his name was John Parker and he was a policeman with the Washington Police force. He was detailed to stand guard over the President and the First Lady as they watched and enjoyed the play that night. Parker became thirsty and decided to retrieve a drink. It was then that John Wilkes Booth and the other leapt into action. Booth stepped into the balcony box, now unguarded by the absent Parker, and shot one time into the head of Abraham Lincoln, mortally wounding him. He was there with the Lincoln's on invite, grappled with Booth after the fatal shot but was slashed by a hunting knife in the arm and head. Booth then leaped from the balcony onto the stage and made his escape.

Henry Rathbone
Henry Rathbone
President Lincoln lay bleeding to death on the balcony floor, Rathbone was semi-unconscious on the ground and everyone else stood in perpetual shock. The next day the President passed away and Rathbone went into a spin of depression that would rule his life all the way to the end of his days.

In 1867, two years after President Lincoln was assassinated, Rathbone married Clara Harris and over the next few years fathered three children with the woman. In 1882 Rathbone was appointed US consul to Hanover, Germany. Rathbone became more and more apprehensive and paranoid of public places and had an over zealous jealousy of his wife's attention to their own children. This came to a dramatic and climatic ending when in December 1883 Rathbone murdered his wife and attempted to commit suicide.

Surviving the self inflicted stab wounds Rathbone was found guilty of murder but committed to a mental asylum for the criminally insane as punishment. The asylum would be the last place Rathbone would ever reside he died in 1911. He would forever be linked to the death of one of the greatest presidents of the United States of America. For his valor in attempting to subdue the man who shot Lincoln, Rathbone was commended by the First Lady herself.



Return From Henry Rathbone to Civil War Timeline





Jul 21, 2013

Civil War Generals, Generals of the Civil War, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War people

Civil War Generals were one of the most important factors that determined the outcome of battles during the Civil War

Continue reading "Civil War Generals, Generals of the Civil War, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War people"

Jul 08, 2013

About Me

I am the owner and creator of Civil War Academy

Continue reading "About Me"

Jul 23, 2011

USS Galena, Ironclad, Battle of Ironclads

The USS Galena was one of the most impressive ironclad ships during the Civil War. In the Civil War, sea-superiority was of high importance.

Continue reading "USS Galena, Ironclad, Battle of Ironclads"

Feb 18, 2010

Advertising Disclosure

Advertising Disclosure. This site is my personal site. It accepts advertising and other forms of compensation.

Continue reading "Advertising Disclosure"

Nov 09, 2009

Brass Band, Civil War Music, Civil War Bands

The brass band of the Civil War played a very important role for both armies. They played at recruitment rallies and their music often helped to encourage young men to enlist.

Continue reading "Brass Band, Civil War Music, Civil War Bands"

ADD TO YOUR SOCIAL BOOKMARKS: add to BlinkBlink add to Del.icio.usDel.icio.us add to DiggDigg
add to FurlFurl add to GoogleGoogle add to SimpySimpy add to SpurlSpurl Bookmark at TechnoratiTechnorati add to YahooY! MyWeb