John Wilkes Booth was a famous American stage actor who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theatre, in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1865. Booth was a member of the prominent 19th century Booth theatrical family from Maryland and, by the 1860s, was a well-known actor. He was also a Confederate sympathizer, vehement in his denunciation of Lincoln, and strongly opposed the abolition of slavery in the United States.
Booth and a group of co-conspirators originally plotted to kidnap Lincoln, but later planned to kill him, Vice President Andrew Johnson, and Secretary of State William H. Seward in a bid to help the Confederacy's cause. Although Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia had surrendered four days earlier, Booth believed the American Civil War was not yet over because Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston's army was still fighting the Union Army. Of the conspirators, only Booth was completely successful in carrying out his respective part of the plot. After Booth shot him once in the back of the head, Lincoln died the next morning. Seward was severely wounded but recovered. Vice-President Johnson was never attacked at all.