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Notes found in US recount doctor's bid to save shot Lincoln

WASHINGTON -- A doctor's account of his frantic efforts to save the life of fatally wounded U.S. President Abraham Lincoln has been rediscovered in the United States, after being lost to history for 147 years.

On April 14, 1865, Charles Leale happened to be in the same Washington theater as the U.S. president, watching the play “My American Cousin,” when he heard a gunshot and saw a man leap onto the stage.

Leale, 23, the first person to tend to Lincoln's wounds, documented the tragic encounter in a 21-page handwritten report.

A copy of Leale's notes from that tragic night found its way to the National Archives, America's massive repository of historical documents, where — until last month — it had been overlooked for a century and a half.

It was found by a researcher with The Papers of Abraham Lincoln Project, a historical group which announced the find this week.

“It is truly a first draft of history,” Stowell said.

The historic document was found by a researcher, Helena Iles Papaioannou, among hundreds of boxes of old medical reports.

Lincoln — who led the country into a bloody civil war, but preserved the union and ended slavery — was shot by assassin John Wilkes Booth, an actor and Confederate sympathizer.

Outraged by the South's defeat in the war between southern and northern states, Booth carried out a carefully devised plot to kill Lincoln, the first U.S. president to be assassinated.

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