top of page

Rare view by Fredericks of BBG James Rowan O'Beirne 37th NYVI & VRC.  Medal of Honor for Fair Oaks, also the first officer during the Assasination of Lincoln, to organize the local military to pursue Booth and his companions : "In April 1865, he was serving as Provost Marshall of Washington, D.C. and was active in the pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth and his associate conspirators following the assassination of United States President Abraham Lincoln. Having landed the gunshot that would eventually kill Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth leaped over the railing and fell from the presidential balcony of the Ford Theater in Washington, knowing that he was a wanted man. What he didn’t know was that Major James Rowan O’Beirne was to lead that hunt. After Booth had bolted on horseback from the Washington theater on that Good Friday night, April 14, 1865, Lincoln was rushed to a boarding house across the street, where he lay dying. O’Beirne escorted vice-president Andrew Johnston to the president’s bedside, after the second-in-command had himself avoided a similar fate when his would-be-killer, George Atzerodt, lost his nerve at the crucial moment. Secretary of State William Seward wasn’t so lucky, after a simultaneous attack saw him receive multiple stab wounds at the hands of Lewis Powell. Merely days after Republican forces had restored the Union to end the Civil War, its top-brass had now received a damaging blow by Confederate sympathizers who, however late in the day, were intent on extracting their own pound of flesh. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton circled the wagons in the back room of the infamous boarding house and issued O’Beirne with orders that he was "relieved from all other duty at this time, and directed to employ yourself and your detective force in the detection and arrest of the murderers of the President, and the assassins who attempted to murder Mr. Seward". Acting on Stanton’s instructions, Major O’Beirne made his way through the capital’s streets in the small hours of April 15th. He barged through the front doors of Kirkwood House, where Atzerodt had failed to go through with his orders.

CDV James R O'Beirne MOH, Lincoln

    bottom of page