GDG- Killing Lincoln

Batrinque at Batrinque at
Tue Jan 17 09:17:23 CST 2012

In a message dated 1/17/2012 10:11:12 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
CWMHTours at writes:

I  thought it was an interesting reference to Benjamin  French,  There  are 
many references to him in DC hsitory books and he comes  off well  and very 
I'm too lazy at the moment to check, but I think that Anthony Pitch in  
"They Have Killed Papa Dead!" made use of French's personal papers to  describe 
the Second Inauguration event, confirming what had been earlier claimed  by 
the policeman Westfall.  There is an April 24th letter from French  to his 
son: "I have little doubt that the intention was to assassinate the  
President on the 4th of March, & circumstances have been brought to my mind  which 
almost convince me that, without knowing what I was doing, I was somewhat  
instrumental in preventing it. As the procession was passing through the 
Rotunda  toward the Eastern portico, a man jumped from the crowd into it behind 
the  President. I saw him, & told Westfall, one of my Policemen, to order 
him  out. He took him by the arm & stopped him, when he began to wrangle &  
show fight. I went up to him face to face, & told him he must go back. He  
said he had a right there, & looked very fierce & angry that we would  not let 
him go on, & asserted his right so strenuously, that I thought he  was a new 
member of the House whom I did not know & I said to Westfall "let  him go." 
While we were thus engaged endeavouring to get this person back in the  
crowd, the president passed on, & I presume had reached the stand before we  
left the man. Neither of us thought any more of the matter until since the  
assassination, when a gentleman told Westfall that Booth was in the crowd that 
 day, & broke into the line & he saw a police man hold of him keeping him  
back. W. then came to me and asked me if I remembered the circumstance. I 
told  him I did, & should know the man again were I to see him. A day or two  
afterward he brought me a photograph of Booth, and I recognized it at once 
as  the face of the man with whom we had the trouble. He gave me such a 
fiendish  stare as I was pushing him back, that I took particular notice of him & 
 fixed his face in my mind, and I think I cannot be mistaken. My theory is 
that  he meant to rush up behind the President & assassinate him, & in the  
confusion escape into the crowd again & get away. But, by stopping him as we 
 did, the President got out of his reach. All this is mere surmise, but the 
man  was in earnest, & had some errand, or he would not have so 
energetically  sought to go forward ..."

Bruce  Trinque
Amston, CT

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