Report of First Doctor to Treat Wounded President Lincoln Found

Posted June 6th, 2012 at 8:15 pm (UTC-5)
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Historians at the National Archives in Washington have made an astounding find — a written account by the first doctor to treat the mortally-wounded President Abraham Lincoln.

The long lost report was discovered in a box at the National Archives last month after being filed away 147 years ago.

The notes, soon to be available on line, give a unique first-hand account of what emergency treatment was available in 1865.

Twenty-three year old Army doctor Charles Leale was sitting near Lincoln's box during the fateful performance of Our American Cousin in Ford's Theater in Washington, April 14, 1865.

Leale writes that he heard the shots, saw the assassin John Wilkes Booth jump to the stage, and immediately rushed to the president's box. Leale says he was met by Mary Todd Lincoln, who implored him to do whatever he could for the wounded president.

Leale writes he sent for brandy and water, broke up a blood clot on the president's head and stuck his finger in Lincoln's wound to examine it. He also resuscitated the president who had stopped breathing and restarted his pulse. Lincoln never regained consciousness.

Leale remained by the president's side as he was carried into a house across from the theater, where he died the next day.

Historians say Leale wrote his report for a Congressional investigation into Lincoln's murder.