What did Abraham Lincoln bring to Ford’s Theatre?

May 30th, 2013

The Library of Congress displays the contests of President Lincoln’s pockets the night he was assassinated in Ford’s Theatre:

The night Abraham Lincoln was shot, he was carrying: a pocket knife, a watch fob, an Irish linen handkerchief, a brown leather wallet, a crisp new Confederate five-dollar bill, two pairs of gold-rimmed spectacles (one held together with string), and eight newspaper clippings, some of which echoed remarks from one of his campaign speeches – that a country divided against itself cannot stand.

Now why would he have a Confederate note?

There is also the curious matter of the five-dollar Confederate bill, which Dimunation said, repeating an old joke, was so Lincoln was “prepared for all contingencies.” The president is believed to have acquired the bill as a souvenir (of a war won? or what could have been?) when he visited Richmond and Petersburg, Va., just as the Civil War was drawing to a close.