Tomorrow, April 14, marks the 152 anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. The tragedian John Wilkes Booth fired his shot and jumped from the President’s box to the stage. One minor detail made all the difference…he caught a boot spur on Old Glory, which had been draped across the box. Booth tumbled and broke his leg, and the 12-day manhunt began.

I read a fascinating book some time ago about the days that transpired before the man hunters tracked and killed Booth in a barn. Moved, I wrote an ode to our sixteenth president. With my beloved friend and songwriting partner, Bill Parrott, we put the words to music and recorded the tune. I offer both to you…and to the great emancipator, Father Abraham, as the freedmen called him.

“The Revenge”


If you had been there, you too would have cried
At the shot that launched the tragedian’s ride
Slowed by the stars and stripes on the wall
The revenge of Old Glory, as some would recall

He rides like the wind by the Capitol dome
O’er a D.C. bridge to a path leadin’ home
His broken leg in need of a doctor’s skill
He stops at Doc Mudd’s and reflects on his kill

God rest ye Father Abraham…rest

(Chorus) Father Abraham now belongs to the ages
The revenge of Old Glory is told on the pages
of history…and now in this song
T’was a night filled with hope, gone terribly wrong

There’s Herold and Atzerodt, Payne and the like
They all play a role as the assassin takes flight
And one special agent for the Rebel cause
Hides the cowardly actor as we mourn our loss

In the pine thicket laying low for days
Restless, deluded…he’s anxious for praise
While the man hunters are combing the land
The hunted John Booth…he barely can stand


Get to Virginia…Deep South to be safe
Crosses the Potomac, but at the wrong place
Chased by the cavalry to Garrett’s farm
Trapped and desperate, he prepares to do harm

The barn gets torched before night turns to day
So the final act the crazed thespian plays
His pistol raised high for a blaze of glory
A shot through the neck puts an end to this story

God rest ye Father Abraham…rest

Old Glory reached out and caused Booth to fall
Though Abraham was silenced, his memory stands tall
As the Lord rules forever with an iron rod
Abe stands with the righteous in the kingdom of God