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tv   American History TV  CSPAN  March 28, 2015 11:53am-12:01pm EDT

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tellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> here on c-span3, we complement the coverage by showing you the most relevant hearings and fairs event. then on c-span -- on the weekend, we are home to programs that help the nations -- nation's story. including visiting battlefields and key events. american artifacts touring museums and historic sites. history bookshelf with the best known american history writers. the presidency, looking at the policies and legacies of our nation's commanders in chief. and our new series reel america, featuring educational films from the 1930's through the 1970's. c-span3. created by the cable television industry. watch us in hd. like us on facebook.
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follow us on twitter. >> each week, american artifacts takes viewers into museums and historic sites across the country. next, we visit the u.s. national museum of health and medicine. to look at items related to president lincoln's assassination. >> our final stop today features artifacts that were collected during those hours that insurgents were treating him after he was shot at ford theater. and during and after his autopsy the next day. you might remember that abraham lincoln shot at ford theater at about 1030 on friday the 14th of april, 1865. this is just a few days after lee surrendered to grant at appomattox, effectively ending the civil war.
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lincoln is at the play and a shot in the back of the head by john wilkes booth. buy a small lead bullet. that bullet exactly on display here. i do concede in the small glass globe. the bullet was collected the next day. in the hours though, just shortly after lincoln is shot, the surgeon general, joseph barnes response to the president side. -- depending on how far into the wound the probe would go, might identify where the fragment or both was paid they were not able
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to do so. the bullet that found later end up -- ended up being lodged hide lincoln's right. but eventually made it into the museum and is part of the exhibit we have here on display. surgeon general barnes and army medical museum staff, john woodward, and another surgeon named edward curtis were at the president's bedside in the hours before he died, which was about 7:22 the next morning. the 15th of april, 1865. it was decided that that a postmortem would be performed very quickly. it was decided that a post mortem would be performed and the president's body was moved to the white house and the autopsy was performed in a room that is today one of the president's dining rooms in the second floor of the residence. it is during that autopsy that
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the bullet is recovered. the skull would have been removed. as the story is recounted by dr. curtis, dr. curtis lifted the brain out of the skull and held it over a china bowl and made a sound. and according to his notes and the notes of others in the room, there was a pause, a moment of silence and with that sound of the bullet in the china bowl is the only sound making any noise at that exact moment. curtis reflects on it saying something to the effect of, this is a lead ball for which we can't yet measure the call -- calamitous effect. the autopsy is completed and some fragments of lincoln's skull were retained by surgeons who assisted at the autopsy and in some cases, it was stuck on
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dr. curtis' tools and as he was cleaning the tools, he found a bit of lincoln's skull fragments, stuck in one of the saws. we also have on display a bit of hair removed from the site of the wound. several locks of hair are counted for in the notes in the hours before lincoln died. these are just a few of those that were cut and given away to different people. another object that is on display relates to dr. curtis. a surgeon on the staff of the army medical museum is the assistant at the autopsy. when he got home that night, the 15th of april after the autopsy, he discovered that his undershirt sleeve cuffs were stained with the blood and mrs. curtis cut those off and put them in an envelope and this is
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one of those two shirt cuffs. both should cuffs are in the museum. just this one is on display. many of these objects had an interesting and diverse history. the bullet was used at the trial of the conspirators. the fragments of bone and hair were in the care and holdings of others for many years and most were collected in the early 1950's by an army museum cura ator and have been on display for many decades. it is important to note that 2015 will mark the 150th anniversary of the assassination of the president abraham lincoln. >> you can watch this or other programs at any time by visiting our website, [indistinct chatter] -- c-span.org/history.
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up next, a debate and part by the writings and correspondence of president abraham lincoln and abolitionist frederick douglass. although the two met on a handful of occasions, they never actor stephen laying and norm lewis take on the roles of lincoln and douglas, and harold holzer moderates. mr. holzer is also the chair of the centennial lincoln foundation. the metropolitan museum of art posted this event. [applause] mr. holzer: in their entire eventful lives, be met only -- they met face-to-face

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