Abraham Lincoln predict his own death? This is a question
that we will never know that absolute truth to, but as time
goes by it will always be a subject of debate.
William H. Crook was one of the bodyguards assigned to Lincoln
in 1865. According to Crook, on April 14th Lincoln was more
depressed than he’d ever seen him. He said “I
believe there are men who want to take my life… and
I have no doubt that they will do it. But if it is to be
done, it is impossible to prevent it.”
|A very worried
Crook begged the president to stay home that night, but
Lincoln had promised his wife Mary that he would go to the
theatre. “Goodbye, Crook,” he said as they parted
ways. He later recalled that before that night, Lincoln
had always said “Goodnight, Crook.” This was
the first time he’d ever told him goodbye.
Some are skeptical of Crook’s account and claim that
the sequence of events in his story don’t add up.
However, his friend and biographer Ward
Hill Lamon has his own detailed story.
"About ten days ago, I retired very late. I had been
up waiting for important dispatches from the front. I could
not have been long in bed when I fell into a slumber, for
I was weary. I soon began to dream. There seemed to be a
death-like stillness about me. Then I heard subdued sobs,
as if a number of people were weeping. I thought I left
my bed and wandered downstairs. There the silence was broken
by the same pitiful sobbing, but the mourners were invisible.
I went from room to room; no living person was in sight,
but the same mournful sounds of distress met me as I passed
along. I saw light in all the rooms; every object was familiar
to me; but where were all the people who were grieving as
if their hearts would break? I was puzzled and alarmed.
What could be the meaning of all this? Determined to find
the cause of a state of things so mysterious and so shocking,
I kept on until I arrived at the East Room, which I entered.
There I met with a sickening surprise. Before me was a catafalque,
on which rested a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments. Around
it were stationed soldiers who were acting as guards; and
there was a throng of people, gazing mournfully upon the
corpse, whose face was covered, others weeping pitifully.
'Who is dead in the White House?' I demanded of one of the
soldiers, 'The President,' was his answer; 'he was killed
by an assassin.' Then came a loud burst of grief from the
crowd, which woke me from my dream. I slept no more that
night; and although it was only a dream, I have been strangely
annoyed by it ever since."
SOURCE: p. 116-117 of Recollections of Abraham Lincoln 1847-1865
by Ward Hill Lamon (Lincoln, University of Nebraska Press,