Maj. Henry Rathbone, who, with his fiance Clara Harris, accompanied the Lincolns to Ford’s Theatre, testified that he was watching the play when he heard a pistol discharge behind him.
Looking around, he saw a man enveloped in gunsmoke and standing between the president and the door to the box.
Rathbone sprang toward the man but the assassin wrested himself from his grasp and thrust at his chest with a large knife. Rathbone tried to grasp him again but only caught his clothes and the man leapt over the railing of box.
Rathbone said neither Miss Harris or Mrs. Lincoln left their seats during the 30 seconds between the gunshot and the assassin jumping to the stage.