Gen. James R. O’Beirne had already won the Medal of Honor before he assisted Secretary William Stanton on assassination night and pursued John Wilkes Booth.
O’Beirne, a lawyer and an Irish immigrant, won his medal for his bravery at Chancellorsville in 1863, where he was a captain with a New York regiment nicknamed “The Irish Rifles.”
He was shot through the lungs, shot in the leg, hit by shells on both sides of his head and left on the battlefield for three days.
During the war, Gen. O’Beirne served as provost marshal for the District of Columbia. Aftewards he was appointed register of wills in Washington, D.C. For many years, he was the Washington correspondent for the New York Herald. Then he moved back to New York City, where he was in charge of immigration at Ellis Island.
He died in 1917 at age 77.
Source: Editor and Publisher magazine, Feb. 24, 1917, and Ford’s Theatre files.