Artist Carl Bersch was out on his Tenth Street balcony sketching the end-of-the-war celebrations when, shortly after 10 p.m., a loud cry came from Ford’s Theatre: “President Lincoln has been shot. Clear the street.”
From the balcony about 12-14 feet above the street, Bersch sketched as a group of men carried the president across the street on an improvised stretcher.
His “Borne by Loving Hands” depicts the men stopping at the curb to debate the best place to take the president.
Bersch later wrote that he saw a young man standing on the topmost step of Petersen’s Boardinghouse beckoning the president’s bearers. That man was Henry Safford, a mustachioed 17-year-old War Department clerk. Tuckered out after five nights of revelry, Safford had decided to stay in and read on the clammy, cloudy Friday night. Hearing the commotion across the street from his second-story room in the front of the house, he went downstairs to help.
Source: “A. Lincoln, His Last 24 Hours” by W. Emerson Reck