Why John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln.Committed the crime, not to aid the South, but to seek revenge for a supposed personal wrong. He believed Captain John Y. Beall had been unjustly executed.
Mrs. B. G. Clifford, of Union, S. C., Corresponding Secretary of the South Carolina Division Daughters of the Confederacy, writes as follows in the State, in January, 1905, of Columbia, S. C.: Most historians have been content to state the simple fact that J. Wilkes Booth shot and killed President Lincoln in Ford's Theatre, at Washington, on April 14, 1865. Barnes' School History adds to this statement that by the shooting of Lincoln, Booth ‘insanely imagined that he was ridding his country of a tyrant,’ while a recent Southern historian says: ‘Abraham Lincoln was shot in a theatre at Washington on the night of April 14th, by an actor, who, sympathizing with the falling Confederacy, thought this deed would avenge the South.’ In the editorial column of the Christian Observer, of Louisville, Ky., of Oct. 13, 1904, the following statements are made, in which, as a Daughter of the Confederacy, deeply interested in all that pertains to the truth of history and honor of the South, I desire to call the attention of South Carolinians: * * * ‘No citizen of the Southern Confederacy had anything to do with the assassination of Mr. Lincoln.’ * * * John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Mr. Lincoln was a citizen of the United States, not of the Confederate States. He was at no time a resident of the Confederate States. His Southern sympathies did not lead him to come to the South and make common cause with the South. It was not an ardent love of the South or of the Southern cause that prompted Mr. Booth's crime, but rather a spirit of revenge for the personal wrong that Mr. Lincoln had done in having Captain John Y. Beall, one of Booth's friends, unjustly executed. The editor of the Christian Observer was acquainted with Captain Beall. He was a native of Virginia, a member of a good family, a college graduate, a brave young man of attractive personality.