Home    Charger    Articles    Schedule    Library    Links    Destinations

Honor the Monitor    Speakers Bureau    Membership    Contact Us   


Lincoln's Assassination: Three Riddles
By John C. Fazio
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2011, All Rights Reserved

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 April 14.

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 writes that:

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 night?

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 was over.

Q. How long did you remain taking that glass of ale?

A. I suppose about five or ten minutes.

Q. And then returned to the carriage?

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 first came.

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 see anybody…

Q. You did not go to sleep, did you?

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 Lincoln assassination.

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 theatre?

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 reprehensible act.

The Third Riddle:
How Did the Presidential Party Get to the Theater?

There are at least three versions of this.

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 conclusion.

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.

  1. It is 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.

  2. 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 White House.

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.

Not likely.

Footnotes and References:

  1. Charles Higham, Murdering Mr. Lincoln: A New Detection of the 19th Century's Most Famous Crime, New Millennium Press, 2004, pp. 118, 119, 238.

  2. George S. Bryan, The Great American Myth, Americana House, Inc., 1940, pp. 62, 165, 168, 175.

  3. Edward Steers, Jr., The Lincoln Assassination Encyclopedia, Harper Perennial, 2010, pp. 106, 107.

  4. Edward Steers, Jr., Blood on the Moon: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln, The University Press of Kentucky, 2001, p. 104.

  5. W. Emerson Reck, A. Lincoln: His Last 24 Hours; University of South Carolina Press, 1987, p. 60.

  6. 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.

  7. Jim Bishop, The Day Lincoln Was Shot, Harper & Row, 1955

  8. Michael O’Neal, The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln: Opposing Viewpoints (Great Mysteries), Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1949, p. 55.

  9. H. Donald Winkler, Lincoln and Booth: More Light on the Conspiracy, Cumberland House, 2003, pp. 101, 102, 113.

  10. Champ Clarke, The Assassination: Death of the President, Time-Life Books, 1987, p. 82.

  11. Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and The War Years, the Reader’s Digest Association, 1954, 1970, pp. 580-581

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Charles Higham, op.cit., p. 118.

  15. Margaret Leech, Reveille in Washington: 1860-1865 (New York Review Books Classics), Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1941, p. 300.

  16. 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 General

  17. Michael W. Kauffman, American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies, Random House, 2004, p. 475, note 25.

  18. Trial of John H. Surratt in the Criminal Court for the District of Columbia, Hon. George P. Fisher Presiding, Volume 1, p. 559.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. Michael Burlingame, Ed., Lincoln Observed: Civil War Dispatches of Noah Brooks, The Johns Hopkins University Press, New York and London, 1998, p. 188.

  22. 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)

  23. 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.

  24. Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and The War Years, the Readers Digest Association, 1954, 1970, p. 580

  25. 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.

  26. Pendel, op.cit., p.40.

  27. Ibid, pp. 39,40.

  28. Louis A. Warren Library, quoted in Good, op.cit., p. 66.


The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable