Editor's note: This article is
excerpted from a book on the Lincoln assassination being written
by the author.
The First Riddle:
What was the Name of
President Lincoln’s Coachman?
The name of an earlier coachman was
Patterson McGee. He was discharged on February 10, 1864, apparently
under a cloud and against his wishes. Shortly after his discharge,
the White House stables burned. Because he was observed at the scene
of what was assumed to be a crime, he was arrested for arson, but
had to be released for lack of evidence. It has been suggested that
the deliberate torching of the stables may in fact have been an
assassination attempt. In any case, after the assassination, McGee
left for Europe, in late 1865, aboard the Peruvian, the same ship
that carried John Surratt there.1
According to Mr. Lincoln’s White
House, the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History, and the
Lincoln Institute, Edward “Ned” Burke was a White House steward and
coachman who left the President’s employ in early 1862, but returned
to White House service in 1865. During part of the interim period,
he was replaced by McGee. It was this Burke, says the author of
Employees and Staff, who drove the Lincoln’s to Ford’s Theatre on
George S. Bryan, however, writes
that the name of the Lincoln coachman who drove the presidential
party to Ford’s theater was not Edward “Ned” Burke, but Francis
Burke.2 For authority, he cites Vol. II of the Trial of John H.
Surratt in the Criminal Court for the District of Columbia, p. 792,
and Burke’s statement in the Archives of the Judge Advocate General.
Page 792 of the transcript contains testimony given by Francis P.
Burke, who identifies his employment in April, 1865, as “the
coachman of President Lincoln,” and who states that he drove the
President’s carriage to the theatre. This would appear to be quite
authoritative. But there is more.
Edward Steers Jr., in one of his
works, writes that the coachman was Francis P. Burke,3 which appears
to be correct. But in another of his works, he identifies the
coachman as Ned Burke,4 apparently a reference to Edward “Ned”
Burke, which appears to be wrong. W. Emerson Reck also calls the
coachman Ned Burke.5
Anthony Pitch agrees with Bryan and
with Steers’s The Lincoln Assassination Encyclopedia in claiming
that the coachman was Francis Burke.6 He, too, references the
Surratt trial testimony and the Archives statement. On the other
hand, Jim Bishop wrote that the coachman who drove the carriage to
the theater was Francis Burns.7 This appears to be wrong, a melding
of a correct first name with an incorrect surname. Making the
identical mistake are Michael O’Neal,8 H. Donald Winkler,9 Champ
Clark,10 and even Carl Sandburg,11 all of whom identified the
coachman as Francis Burns. Even the very recently published (2011)
Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever, by Bill O’Reilly, makes the same mistake.
The preceding five examples clearly
illustrate how historical error takes on a life of its own. One
original source, William H. Crook, appears to confirm Bryan, Pitch
and, partially, Steers. Crook makes two references to “Burke” and
When the President and his
wife went to the theater, they would step into a carriage at the
White House and drive directly to their destination, just as any
other gentlemen and lady in private life would do. Burke, the big,
burly Irish coachman, would pull up his horses, and the footman,
Charley Forbes, would swing down to the sidewalk and open the door
of the carriage…12
Another original source, Thomas F.
Pendel, on the other hand, merely adds to the confusion by referring
to “Ned Burke”, “Burke” (twice), and “Edward Burke.”13 Charles Higham also adds to the confusion by referring to Lincoln’s “regular
coachman” as Francis Bourke.14
Though it appears that at least
part of the confusion, probably the greater part, stems from
repetition of the errors of others, part must also be due to a
similarity of names. There was on the White House staff, for
example, one Edward McManus, a doorkeeper described as a “genial
little Irishman.” He was called, affectionately, “Old Edward.”
Despite his surname, he was kept on the White House payroll as
“Burke,” i.e., Edward Burke, which must surely have something to do
with the numerous erroneous references to Lincoln’s coachman as
Edward Burke, or Ned Burke, or Edward “Ned” Burke. He incurred Mrs.
Lincoln’s displeasure early in 1865 and therefore lost the post of
doorkeeper, though he was not officially discharged until June of
that year. He was replaced by Thomas Pendel. Another doorkeeper and
steward was Thomas Burns, who was dismissed during the last winter
of the war. Surely his name must tie into the erroneous references
to Francis Burns as the coachman.15
Conclusion: Lincoln’s coachman was
Francis P. Burke (not Edward Burke, Ned Burke, Edward “Ned” Burke,
Francis Bourke, or Francis Burns). The testimony at the Surratt
trial and the statement in the Archives of the Judge Advocate
General are from the horse’s mouth or, more accurately, from the
mouth of the horse’s driver.
The Second Riddle:
Who Did Burke Drink With at the
Star Saloon During an Intermission?
Burke, “the big, burly Irish
coachman” who also happened to be a heavy drinker (the Lincolns had
chronic problems with the drinking habits of their coachmen), drove
the presidential party, through Washington’s muddy streets, from the
White House to Ford’s Theatre. Upon arrival at the theatre, with its
impressive façade, Burke pulled the carriage up to a wooden
platform, or horse block, that stood at the curb to facilitate the
transfer of coach passengers from the carriage to the theatre.
Forbes, the footman, swung down to open the carriage door. The
presidential party then stepped onto the block and was escorted
through the arched passageways of the main entrance into the theatre
by Forbes and John Parker, who had gone ahead on foot and was now
waiting for their arrival. After the presidential party had exited
the carriage, Burke drove it forward some 30 to 50 feet, where he
parked it for the duration of the performance. He would sit in the
carriage until it was time to drive the presidential party back to
the White House or, perhaps, to Senator Harris’s home.
Almost, that is to say that on at
least one occasion while the performance was in progress, Burke, by
his own admission, left the carriage and, in the company of “two of
my friends,” went next door to Peter Taltavul’s Star Saloon for an
ale.16 At the trial of John Surratt, in 1867, more than two years
after the assassination, there was this exchange between Burke and
defense attorney Richard Merrick:
Q. Were you on the box most of the
A. I was all the time that night,
with the exception that two of my friends whom I knew asked me to go
in and take a glass of ale with them. I left a man in charge of the
carriage until I returned.
Q. At what time did you go in and
take a glass of ale?
A. I think after the first act
Q. How long did you remain taking
that glass of ale?
A. I suppose about five or ten
Q. And then returned to the
A. I then returned to the
carriage and went on to the box.
Q. Did you remain there?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. I understand you to say you
remained all the time on the box, with the exception of these five
or ten minutes.
A. I remained after the carriage
Q. Did you observe anybody coming
round your carriage and peeping into it?
A. No; I took no notice. They may
have passed by. I saw no one looking into the carriage. I did not
Q. You did not go to sleep, did
A. Oh, no.
One wonders why Burke was called as
a witness in Surratt’s trial, but not in the trial of the
conspirators two years earlier, but we will pass over that as
another of the many quirks that so often occur in the record of the
In the Archives of the Judge
Advocate General, Burke states that his two friends were the
“special police officer and the footman of the President.” Virtually
every historian of the assassination has concluded that the “special
police officer” was Parker, inasmuch as he was a member of the
Metropolitan Police Force who had been “specially” appointed to fill
a vacancy in the White House detail in the spring of 1865, after the
detail had been created in November 1864. This was known to all
concerned. Another reason for so concluding was that Parker and
Forbes were together when the presidential party arrived, had
escorted the party to the presidential box, and then had assumed
positions near the box for the rest of the first act of the play,
then in progress, or at least some part of it. Other reasons
favoring Parker were that drinking was one of his favorite pastimes
(one of the earlier charges brought against him was drunkenness) and
that, as a presidential bodyguard, he was reasonably well known to
both Forbes and Burke. And still another reason is the way Burke
words the invitation, namely “two of my friends whom I knew asked me
to…take a glass of ale with them.” It is more likely that “two of my
friends whom I knew” would reference fellow White House personnel
than a City police officer who was more likely than not to be a
stranger to Burke.
Nevertheless, Michael Kauffman
believes that the officer referred to is not Parker, but “a
uniformed officer who was assigned to the front of the building,
whether Lincoln was there or not.”17 This officer is described in
the transcript of the John H. Surratt trial as “one policeman from
the City police” who was there to keep people from sitting or
loafing in front of the theatre.18 Why Kauffman (who is otherwise a
meticulous researcher and a fine writer) favors this officer as
Burke’s friend, rather than Parker, he does not say. We are asked to
believe that Parker, who loved his pint, was still in the theatre
guarding the President and party, even though it was not his
responsibility to do so (per Kauffman), while his companions, Forbes
and Burke, were next door imbibing with a police officer whose
responsibility it was to keep people from sitting or loafing in
front of the theatre. One may fairly ask: If this police officer
went off with Forbes and Burke, who was policing the front of the
The preponderance of the evidence
is that Burke’s “friends,” described as the “special police officer
and the footman of the President,” were Parker and Forbes and that
Kauffman is simply mistaken. (Even the luminaries go astray
occasionally.) That is the conclusion of virtually every historian
but Kauffman and it is also mine.
But I will take it a step further
and say that even if the “special police officer” were the City
Police Officer who was responsible for the front of the building,
which I and just about everyone who has addressed the issue regards
as most improbable, we may be certain that Parker was not guarding
the presidential box at the time, but was off somewhere else doing
God knows what – chatting with patrons or flirting are possibilities
– most likely in Taltavul’s himself. Parker’s temperament and style
were not attuned to stationary guard duty, not where and when there
was opportunity to better gratify his senses.
It is worth mentioning that
Kauffman believes that Parker’s culpability is a moot point inasmuch
as “anyone would have allowed Booth into the box,” and it therefore
does not matter who was drinking with Forbes and Burke. I do not
think so. Not when the evidence indicates that even the milquetoast
Forbes challenged Booth. Does Kauffman really believe that Lincoln’s
self-appointed bodyguard, Ward Hill Lamon, a giant of a man who
valued Lincoln’s life more than his own, would have passed Booth? Or
Eckert, another towering physical specimen? Or even Crook or Pendel?
It is all but inconceivable.
It is entirely possible that Burke
went into the adjacent bar more than once that evening. He was a
pretty good tippler, as noted earlier, and it seems a bit of a
stretch that he would spend almost two hours sitting on the box if
he could enjoy a drink and company a few feet away, especially if he
had someone to leave in charge of the carriage, as he said he did.
We will probably never know. But what we can be reasonably certain
of is that he was in the bar, when he said he was in the bar, longer
than five or ten minutes. A drink is almost never taken in such a
brief period of time, especially when one is with others, enjoying
companionship and conviviality. The length of such periods and the
amount of beverage consumed are almost always minimized, especially
when there is good reason to do so, as there was in this case. (What
police officer has not been told by a DUI, who has a blood alcohol
content of more than twice the legal limit, that all he had was “a
couple of beers?”)
The President had been shot and
died as a result of it. The last impression that Burke would wish to
create was that he was somehow careless of his duties, and in favor
of drink no less. He knew that both Parker and Forbes had been
severely chastised for failing the President, and he would not wish
to be too closely associated with them at a time when they were
seriously derelict in their duties. So he would put the best spin on
it that he could, and he did. It is of little moment, as far as he
is concerned, because it was never his duty to guard or protect the
President, and no one has ever suggested that it was. The episode is
significant, however, insofar as it demonstrates the almost
unbelievable negligence of Parker and Forbes, particularly Parker,
in leaving the President and his party completely unprotected at a
time when they were most vulnerable, i.e., during an intermission.
It is so bizarre, in fact, that one could read into it, if one is
inclined to credit suspicions as to Parker’s complicity in the
crime, a foreknowledge on his part that no harm was to come to the
President at that time.
Conclusion: Lincoln’s coachman,
Francis P. Burke, had at least one drink, in Taltavul’s Star Saloon,
with John F. Parker and Charles Forbes, during an intermission of
the play, probably after the first act, and in so doing left the
President and his party completely unguarded, an extremely
The Third Riddle:
How Did the
Presidential Party Get to the Theater?
There are at least three versions
In the first scenario, Mrs.
Lincoln, Major Rathbone, and Miss Harris were told by the President,
who was “engaged,” to go on ahead to the theater. Charles Forbes
accompanied them to the theater (the carriage presumably being
driven by coachman Francis P. Burke) and then returned to the White
House for the President. Forbes then accompanied the President to
the theater and from the carriage to the box. In this scenario, it
is unclear whether Mrs. Lincoln, Rathbone, and Harris waited at the
theater for the President to arrive before ascending to the dress
circle and the presidential box, or took their places in the box
upon arrival, with the President arriving later and being escorted
to the presidential box separately.1 Significantly, for reasons that
will become manifest soon enough, in this scenario, Rathbone and
Harris are at the White House before the presidential carriage
leaves for the theater.
In the second scenario, the
President and Mrs. Lincoln left the White House together at
approximately 8:10, together with the presidential footman, Charles
Forbes, sometimes referred to as the President’s “messenger,”
“personal attendant,” “valet,” “servant,” or simply “a White House
aide.” Heavily whiskered and bearded, Forbes looked much older than
his 30 years, but, unfortunately, his judgment reflected his actual
years, not his apparent ones. The carriage was driven by the
President’s coachman, Burke, who drove it first to the home of New
York Senator Ira Harris to pick up the President’s and Mrs.
Lincoln’s guests for the evening. The Senator was the father of
Clara Harris and the stepfather of Major Henry Rathbone. Clara and
Henry were engaged to be married. They did not accompany the
Lincolns from the White House, but were picked up at the Senator’s
home and then driven to Ford’s Theatre in the presidential carriage.
This scenario is the most commonly accepted one and is contained in
nearly all accounts of the assassination.20
The third scenario has the
Lincolns, Rathbone, and Harris all leaving the White House at the
same time in the same carriage, without any guard or escort, all
arriving at the theater at the same time.21
It seems strange that something as
simple and basic as how the presidential party made their way to the
theater cannot be known with certainty, but there it is. In any
case, let us consider the foregoing scenarios and try for a
In my judgment, we may safely
disregard at least part of the first version, which is contained in
Charles Forbes’s 1892 affidavit. The affidavit attests to other
improbabilities, which is not surprising when we consider that it
was sworn to 27 years after the fact and, more importantly, that
Forbes had an axe to grind, namely, to deny entirely or at least to
minimize his culpability in the assassination.22 Forbes’s description
of doubling back to pick up the President and driving him to the
theater separately from the rest of the party is, to my knowledge,
found nowhere else in the literature of the subject, which is
massive. It seems likely that, as the President’s footman, he must
have accompanied the President on many outings to the theater and
elsewhere and that he is, therefore, conflating the events of the
evening of April 14 with the events of another outing, inasmuch as,
on its face, there does not appear to be a self-serving motive in
his description of the double-back. It is not as easy to dismiss one
of the other two accounts, because both come with strong authority,
but dismiss one we must, because they are irreconcilable. Someone
has made a mistake, due to a failure of memory, carelessness, or
simply repetition of an error or errors of others. Henry Reed Rathbone
The best original authority for the
second scenario is the testimony of Rathbone himself, given at the
trial of the conspirators. He said, under oath:
On the evening of the 14th of
April last, at about twenty-minutes past eight o’clock, in company
with Ms. Harris, I left my residence at the corner of Fifteenth
and H Streets, and joined the President and Mrs. Lincoln, and went
with them, in their carriage, to Ford’s Theatre, on Tenth Street.23
So what is the problem? Why do we
not simply reject the third scenario and go with Rathbone and what
is clearly the majority opinion? First, because the statement “…in
company with Miss Harris, I left my residence…and joined the
President and Mrs. Lincoln, and went with them in their carriage to
Ford’s Theatre” can be interpreted to mean that upon leaving his
residence he stepped into the carriage, which already had the
President and Mrs. Lincoln on board, or can be interpreted to mean
that he stepped into the carriage, which was then driven back to the
White House for the purpose of joining the Lincolns before being
driven to the theatre. Second, because the source of the account, in
which they all left together is Noah Brooks, the California
journalist who was closer to Lincoln than almost anyone else was,
who saw him almost every day in the last two and a half years of the
war, and who was there, at the White House, when the presidential
party left. He states categorically, in his letter of April 16:
“Speaker Colfax and your correspondent were at the house just before
he went out for the last time alive…Mrs. Lincoln’s carriage was at
the door, seated in it being Miss Harris, daughter of Senator Harris
of New York, and Major Rathburn (Rathbone), her step-brother. The
President and wife entered and drove off without any guard or
escort.” (My emphasis.)
Further, Forbes’s account,
otherwise dubious, is consistent with Brooks’s account at least as
to the guests being at the White House prior to departure. He says:
“…I still had it (a picture Tad Lincoln had given him) in my pocket
when Mrs. Lincoln and her guests were ready to start for the
theatre. The President told them to go ahead…I accompanied them to
the theatre…” (My emphasis.) Still further, another very strong
source, the literary giant and Lincoln scholar Carl Sandburg, wrote
that “In the carriage into which the President and his wife stepped
were Henry Reed Rathbone, assigned by Stanton to accompany the
President, and his fiancée, Miss Clara Harris…The carriage left the
White House with its four occupants, coachman Francis Burns (sic)
holding the reins, and alongside him the footman and valet, Charles
Forbes.”24 And still further, Clara M. Laughlin, one of the early
historians of the assassination, wrote, in 1909, that Mrs. Lincoln,
in preparing for the evening, sent word to Miss Harris and Major Rathbone that “the White House carriage would call for (them) a
little after eight, and, further, that when the carriage finally
left the White House for the theater, “The young sweethearts were in
festive mood at the evening’s prospect, and the President responded
to it with much happiness in their care-free company.”25 Ms. Laughlin
cites as authority for the last quote information given to her
directly by Rathbone’s and Harris’s son, Mr. Henry R. Rathbone Jr.
of Chicago, which should nail it down.
For the foregoing and following
reasons, I come down on the side of Forbes, Brooks, Sandburg, and
Laughlin and against the overwhelming majority of historians of the
assassination, who hold for the second scenario.
less likely that guests of the President of the United States and
the First Lady would impose upon them by asking that they be
specially called for on the way to the theater, than that they
would arrange to be taken to the White House in time for the
departure. The evidence shows that it is United States Senator Ira
Harris probable that the White House sent the presidential
carriage (i.e., coachman Burke and Forbes) to pick them up at
Clara’s father’s home and then brought them to the White House in
time for everyone to leave together, a scenario that can be
interpreted to be consistent with presidential guard Thomas
Pendel’s account26 in addition to the accounts already given. Pendel, after describing a final conversation between the
President, Mrs. Lincoln, George Ashmun of Massachusetts, and
Speaker of the House Schuyler Colfax in the main entrance of the
White House, says that “Ned Burke (sic) and Charles Forbes, the
coachman and footman, respectively, drove over to a private
residence, and took in the coach Major Rathbone and Miss Harris,
who was the daughter of Senator Ira T. Harris, of New York.”
Observe that he does not say that the Lincolns were in the coach
when it was driven to the Harris home.27 While this would explain
how the guests got to the White House from Senator Harris’s home,
it cannot be reconciled with those accounts which have the
presidential carriage being driven by the coachman, with Forbes,
the President, and Mrs. Lincoln on board, first to Senator
Harris’s home, to pick up the guests, on the way to the theater.
- Because Rathbone’s testimony is
susceptible of two interpretations, it is possible to reconcile it
with the third scenario. The testimony may reasonably be
interpreted to mean that he and his fiancée left their residence
at about 8:20 and joined the President and Mrs. Lincoln at the
White House and then went with them, in their carriage, to the
theater. Some might say that such a construction is tortured, but
is it really? The supposition is that, if Rathbone and Harris left
for the White House at 8:20, there would be no way the party could
have reached the theater by 8:30, which all indications are they
did. The supposition, further, is that the President and Mrs.
Lincoln left the White House at 8:10, which would get them to
Senator Harris’s residence at about 8:20 and the theater by 8:30,
if we interpret Rathbone’s testimony to mean that when he and
Clara left her father’s home, they stepped into Lincoln’s carriage
and were then driven directly to the theater with the Lincolns.
The problem with these suppositions
is that they are posited on very precise timing, i.e., the carriage
leaves the White House at exactly 8:10, it takes exactly 10 minutes
to reach Senator Harris’s home, it takes exactly 10 more minutes to
reach the theater, and it arrives at the theater at exactly 8:30.
But we know enough to know that such precision rarely obtains in the
real world, and there is sufficient ambiguity in the eyewitness
accounts, both as to the time the play began and the time of the
arrival of the presidential party, to justify a conclusion that it
did not obtain in this case. As an illustration of imprecision in
estimates of time, consider the letter written by eyewitness John
Downing Jr. on April 26, 1865, in which he says that “shortly after
eight, the President, Mrs. Lincoln, Miss Harris…and… Major Rathbone,
arrived and took their positions…”28 Shortly after eight? When
almost everyone else says about 8:30?
The greater likelihood is that the
carriage left the White House some time after 8:00, with the guests
on board, and that it arrived at the theater some time between then
and 8:30, and that by the time the presidential party actually made
their way from the carriage into the theater, through the lobby, up
to the dress circle, and into their box, it was about 8:30. Even if
it were 8:20 or 8:40, it would very likely be remembered and
recorded as “about 8:30,” which fits with most eyewitness accounts.
Conclusion: The presidential party, consisting of the President, Mrs.
Lincoln, Major Henry Rathbone, and Miss Clara Harris, left the White
House in the same carriage and at the same time, driven by the
President’s coachman, Francis P. Burke, and with Charles Forbes, the
President’s footman, aboard. The presidential carriage was probably
used to bring Rathbone and Harris to the White House. The carriage
was not accompanied by a military guard or escort when it left the
I opt for this conclusion despite
the weight of secondary authority against it because it represents
the greater probability. The secondary authority is, I believe, a
case of repetition of the mistakes of others and of historical error
acquiring a life of its own. To opt for the second scenario is to
hold that Noah Brooks, who was at the White House when the carriage
left, and Carl Sandburg, a preeminent Lincoln scholar, and Clara M.
Laughlin, who wrote what she was told by Rathbone’s and Harris’s
son, erred – a tough row to hoe. It is also to hold that Charles
Forbes, in his 1892 affidavit, not only lied about his whereabouts
when Booth struck, something he had a motive to lie about, but also
lied about the whereabouts of the guests when the carriage left the
White House, something he had no motive to lie about.
Footnotes and References:
Charles Higham, Murdering Mr. Lincoln: A New Detection of the 19th Century's Most Famous Crime, New Millennium Press, 2004, pp. 118, 119, 238.
George S. Bryan, The Great American Myth, Americana House, Inc., 1940, pp. 62, 165, 168, 175.
Edward Steers, Jr., The Lincoln Assassination Encyclopedia, Harper Perennial, 2010, pp. 106, 107.
Edward Steers, Jr., Blood on the Moon: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln, The University Press of Kentucky, 2001, p. 104.
W. Emerson Reck, A. Lincoln: His Last 24 Hours; University of South Carolina Press, 1987, p. 60.
Anthony S. Pitch, "They Have Killed Papa Dead!": The Road to Ford's Theatre, Abraham Lincoln's Murder, and the Rage for Vengeance, Steerforth Press, 2008, pp. 106, 112.
Jim Bishop, The Day Lincoln Was Shot, Harper & Row, 1955
Michael O’Neal, The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln: Opposing Viewpoints (Great Mysteries), Greenhaven
Press, Inc., 1949, p. 55.
H. Donald Winkler, Lincoln and Booth: More Light on the Conspiracy, Cumberland House, 2003, pp.
101, 102, 113.
Champ Clarke, The Assassination: Death of the President, Time-Life Books, 1987, p. 82.
Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and The War Years, the Reader’s Digest
Association, 1954, 1970, pp. 580-581
William H. Crook, Memories of the White House: The Home Life of Our Presidents from Lincoln to Roosevelt, comp. and ed. by Henry Rood, Little Brown, Boston,
1911, pp. 29, 30
Thomas Pendel, Thirty-Six Years in the White House: A Memoir of the White House Doorkeeper from Lincoln to Roosevelt,
Washington: Neale, 1962, pp. 13, 32, 33, 40.
Charles Higham, op.cit., p. 118.
Margaret Leech, Reveille in Washington: 1860-1865 (New York Review Books Classics), Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1941, p. 300.
Trial of John H. Surratt in the Criminal Court for the District of Columbia, Hon. George P. Fisher Presiding, Volume 2, p. 792;
Francis Burke Statement in the Archives of the Judge Advocate
Michael W. Kauffman, American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies, Random
House, 2004, p. 475, note 25.
Trial of John H. Surratt in the Criminal Court for the District of Columbia, Hon. George P. Fisher Presiding, Volume 1, p. 559.
Affidavit sworn to by Charles
Forbes, September 17, 1892. Chicago Historical Society; Timothy S.
Good, We Saw Lincoln Shot: One Hundred Eyewitness Accounts, 1995, p. 102.
Here are just a few: Otto Eisenschiml; Why Was Lincoln Murdered?
Faber and Faber, London,
1937, p. 32; Harold Holzer, The President Is Shot!: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Boyds Mills
Press, 2004, p. 105; Michael W. Kauffman, American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies, Random House, 2004, p.
224; Thomas Pendel, Thirty-Six Years in the White House: A Memoir of the White House Doorkeeper from Lincoln to Roosevelt, Washington: Neale, 1962, p. 40;
Anthony Pitch, "They Have Killed Papa Dead!": The Road to Ford's Theatre, Abraham Lincoln's Murder, and the Rage for Vengeance, Steerforth Press,
Hanover, New Hampshire, 2008, p. 106; W. Emerson Reck, A. Lincoln: His Last 24 Hours; University of South Carolina Press, 1987, p.
60; George S. Bryan, in The Great American Myth (Americana House,
Inc., 1940), says: “…we know that no less than five persons saw
the President with Mrs. Lincoln in the carriage as it was driven
from the Executive Mansion to call for Miss Harris and her
fiancée’ at Senator Harris’ residence (Fifteenth and H Streets).”
(p. 224) Regrettably, he does not name them.
Michael Burlingame, Ed., Lincoln Observed: Civil War Dispatches of Noah Brooks, The Johns Hopkins
University Press, New York and London, 1998, p. 188.
George S. Bryan, in The Great American Myth (op.cit.), refers to Forbes’s affidavit as one
“whose whole effect is to shake confidence in the man’s essential
trustworthiness”. (p. 224)
Ben: Perley Moore, The
Conspiracy Trial for the Murder of the President and the Attempt to
Overthrow the Government by the Assassination of its Principal Officers Volume 1, p. 192.
Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and The War Years, the Readers Digest
Association, 1954, 1970, p. 580
Clara M. Laughlin, The Death of Lincoln: The Story of Booth's Plot, His Deed and the Penalty (1909), Doubleday, Page & Company, 1909, pp. 74, 77.
Pendel, op.cit., p.40.
Ibid, pp. 39,40.
Louis A. Warren Library, quoted
in Good, op.cit., p. 66.