GDG- Killing Lincoln

CWMHTours at CWMHTours at
Sat Jan 14 21:03:16 CST 2012

Your BTW question is excellent and highly  provocative.
It's actually pretty fascinating to the point of  addiction.
My interest began in the early 1970s when my family moved to  DC and I 
visited Fords for the first time.
In 1990 I volunteered for a short stretched at Fords (No  ghosts).
93 I became a licensed DC tourguide and began doing bus tours  of the 
assassination.  At first I leaned towards Booth being more insane  than 
clearheaded and calculating.
I had to answer a lot of questions.  While I  was tempted to make up fun 
stories I tried  my  best to give an honest answer.
My Golden Rule in doing tours is to treat the  guest/visitors/tourists in a 
reverse situation.  What would I want to hear  from the guide if I was the 
I am embarassed to say that once I forgot and told the  tourists they could 
see the carvings in the plaster where Booth stuck his door  bar.  The 
museum has been rebuilt.  How stupid of me.
Anyway, as I read and researched more I don't think Booth was  any more 
insane than me, which is the best standard I can give.
But NOTE:  BOOTH was not the first to think of it.   Even before coming to 
DC Lincoln got threats in the mail on an almost constant  basis.
After 18 years of professional research I side with the  assassinaton being 
a cancelled kidnapping attempt in a last Hail Mary  effort to disturb the 
Union gov't  at the end of the war by  decapitation.
BUT I also think there were 100s of plots over the years to  assassinate 
Some can be researched in " real history" books like James O.  Hall's et 
all book "Come Retribution".
Some are speculative.  I think from Day 1 Jeff Davis et  all spoke without 
being on the record about killing Lincoln.  It naturally  would be an option.
And individuals made their own meager efforts usually coming  to naught or 
chickening out.
In Come Retribution after the Dahlgren/Kilpatrick raid  occurred the 
Southern high command no longer ruled out Black Flag warfare-  attacking the 
head-of-state.  The South delivered clothing contaminated by  Yellow Fever to the 
W House.  Being conveyed by mosquitoes this didn't work  but those kinds of 
efforts being made are significant.  (Just so you know,  mosquitos can't 
carry a lot of clothes.  Joke!)
The Tayloes were founding fathers of DC.  The Octogon  House was the W 
House for the Madisons after the W House was burned.   Tayloe's son built a 
house 2 doors down from the house where Seward was nearly  killed.  In 
Retribution Hall goes into it a bit.  Apparently it was a  safe house for spies on 
Lafayette Square.  On their escape Booth and Herold  hid for 2 days at the 
Nanjemoy plantation on the Pot R of the Hughes family who  were related to the 
Tayloes and well known to Davcy Herold who'd been there  before many times.
Way cool!
I think the name was a Thomas or Joseph  Conrad, a spy sent up from Jeff 
Davis.  He would stay at the Tayloe House  on L Sq. and hide behind trees 
while he watched A.L. walk to the War  dept.
So Booth's attempt of only one of many  and the only one  pulled off and 
actually quite successful. 
Your  Most Obedient Servant,
P.S.  Believe what you want. I don't make this stuff  up. 
In a message dated 1/14/2012 9:02:53 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
jlawrence at writes:

Esteemed  GDG Member Contributes:

Yes I did. I tried harder than  you.

I read all this and more.

I chose chose not to ape the  marketing side of the house.

FYI: have a copy of protagonist Lafayette  C. Bakers book, "United States 
Secret Service".

It is one of those  delghtfull books, reprinted in the 1890's, with old, 
fragile yellow pages  that the edges crumble.

I paid 120.00 dollars for it.

I keep it  in a plastic bag and have not opened it for these 12 years, 
reading  the Lincoln chapters.

It is available for less than two bucks now on  Amazon, Kindle and Nook.


It is a great primary source, and  certainly better than the treacle in 

OTOH, anything  that tunes someone into history is better than  nothing.



I took the road less traveled,  and it has made all the difference.

BTW:  Was Booth really  stopped from attacking lincoln at the second 
inaugaral Inaugaration, as  portrayed in the book?

>From EN Bookstores:
The products sold at  Eastern National bookstores are a combination of 
Eastern National-produced  items and merchandise purchased through outside 
vendors, including books,  reproductions, apparel, and collectibles. All 
products sold in Eastern  National retail outlets are evaluated by National 
Park Service  interpreters for historical accuracy, quality, and relevance 
park  themes. Strict standards are maintained to ensure we offer the finest 
quality products that will enhance visitors’ experiences. As a cooperating  
association, Eastern National sells only products that the National Park  
Service has approved.

Reference: Eastern National
----- Original  Message ----- 
From: "Jeff Burk" <jlb4tlb at>
To: "GDG"  <gettysburg at>
Sent: Saturday, January 14, 2012 3:37  PM
Subject: Re: GDG- Killing Lincoln

> Esteemed GDG Member  Contributes:
> The following is from the home page publishers web  site.
> "New From Henry Holt
> Killing Lincoln
> The  Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever
> A riveting  historical narrative of the heart-stopping events surrounding 
> the  assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and the first work of history from 
>  mega-bestselling author Bill O'Reilly"
> This is from the  publishes page promoting 'Killing Lincoln.
> "A riveting  historical narrative of the heart-stopping events 
> the  assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and the first work of history from 
>  mega-bestselling author Bill O'Reilly
> The anchor of The O'Reilly  Factor recounts one of the most dramatic 
> stories in American  history—how one gunshot changed the country forever. 
> In the spring of  1865, the bloody saga of America's Civil War finally 
> comes to an end  after a series of increasingly harrowing battles. 
> President Abraham  Lincoln's generous terms for Robert E. Lee's surrender 
> are devised to  fulfill Lincoln's dream of healing a divided nation, with 
> the former  Confederates allowed to reintegrate into American society. 
> one  man and his band of murderous accomplices, perhaps reaching into the 
>  highest ranks of the U.S. government, are not appeased.
> In the midst  of the patriotic celebrations in Washington D.C., John 
>  Booth—charismatic ladies' man and impenitent racist—murders Abraham 
>  Lincoln at Ford's Theatre. A furious manhunt ensues and Booth 
> becomes the country's most wanted fugitive. Lafayette C. Baker, a  smart 
> but shifty New York detective and former Union spy, unravels  the string 
> clues leading to Booth, while federal forces track his  accomplices. The 
> thrilling chase ends in a fiery shootout and a  series of court-ordered 
> executions—including that of the first woman  ever executed by the U.S. 
> government, Mary Surratt. Featuring some of  history's most remarkable 
> figures, vivid detail, and page-turning  action, Killing Lincoln is 
> that reads like a thriller.  "
> Jack didn't look very  hard.
> Namaste
> Jeff  Burk
>>  From: Jack Lawrence <jlawrence at>
>>To: GDG  <gettysburg at>
>>Sent: Saturday, January 14, 2012 4:12  PM
>>Subject: Re: GDG- Killing  Lincoln
>>Esteemed GDG Member  Contributes:
>>> Esteemed GDG  Member Contributes:
>>> At 02:04 PM 1/14/2012, you  wrote:
>>>> The correct term is "speculative popular history".  Or "Interprative 
>>>> History". In the style of bodice  rippers.
>>>  Hello,
>>> There is no such categories as the ones  you suggest. There is no 
>>> ripping in it. It is not a  novel. It is popular history.
>>> Obviously, you  have not read the book. I have. I'm not sympathetic to 
>>> it,  but that does not change what it is.
>>We can  discuss terms, but Holt, the publisher, does not list this as a  
>>history book on its site.
>>Maybe I am looking for it  wrong. The terms used aere samples of 
>>descriptions used for the  book, including the publishers site.
>>No one, even the  publisher, seems to want to call it a history  book.
>>Maybe  its an iambic billameter  poem?
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