Capt. Oliver Gatch, one of the men who carried President Lincoln across Tenth Street on assassination night, already had a lifetime of war stories to tell before April 14.
He was captured by rebels at Chicamauga in September 1863 and held as a prisoner of war untill March 1, 1865.
After his release, Gatch reunited with his brother Charles at their family home in Ohio. Then they rode to Washington, D.C., so the captain could collect his back pay.
When they reached the capital on the morning of the assassination, Capt. Gatch reported to Secretary William Stanton. Then he set out to collect nearly two years back pay.
His plans were thrown off track when the paymaster said he had an important social engagement. He asked Gatch to come back the next morning. The brothers planned to leave Washington that night, but the polite captain agreed.
Killing time in the capital, they decided to go to Ford’s Theatre because the president was attending the performance of “Our American Cousin.”
At one point in the play, the brothers noticed the handsomest man they’d ever seen lurking near the president’s box. They wondered what he was doing there.
After John Wilkes Booth entered the box and shot the president, Capt. Gatch was one of the men who carried the wounded president across Tenth Street to his deathbed.
Source: The Assassination of Lincoln by E.R. Shawm McCLure’s magazine, December 1908