Maj. Henry Rathbone heard a pistol discharge behind him while he was watching “Our American Cousin” being performed at Ford’s Theatre.
Through a cloud of smoke, he saw a man between President Lincoln and the door to the theater box. He thought he heard the man shout a word like “freedom.”
Rathbone sprang towards the assailant and seized him, but the man came at him with a large knife, slitting his arm from the elbow to the shoulder.
Rathbone tried to seize the man again, but he only caught his clothes as the man leapt over the railing of the box.