On the night of April 14, 1865, as the Civil War was drawing to a close and revelers celebrated in the streets of Washington, President Lincoln attended a play at Ford's Theatre with his wife and friends. During the second act, the famous actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth entered the Presidential Box and fired this .44 caliber pistol at the president in an act of revenge. Lincoln died the next morning.
The deringer was found in the Presidential Box, where Booth dropped it, and used as trial evidence. The War Department transferred it to the National Park Service in the 1930s.
Today, visitors can see the deringer, along with other objects associated with Lincoln's Presidency and assassination, on exhibit at Ford's Theatre National Historic Site, one of the sites administered by the National Mall and Memorial Parks.