Lincoln assassination Rabbit Holes

stanton_LOC4a40408r_medSecretary of War Edwin Stanton presided over a military tribunal investigating the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln and the first third of that trial documented horrific crimes fomented by the Confederate Secret Service, crimes of mass extermination involving arson, poisoning of public wells and distribution of smallpox-tainted blankets. The press covered the trial, but all coverage was subject to editing and censorship by Stanton. The North was easily whipped into a frenzy of paranoia. After five years of the worst violence in American history, the nation was already rocked by PTSD, but Lincoln’s murder and trial tweaked the public to new heights of distress.
One problem. It was all lies. A propaganda expert named Charles Dunham paid and coached the parade of witnesses, all in an effort to help convict Jefferson Davis of killing Lincoln (Rabbit Hole #1). Few today realize that tribunal found Davis guilty. Or that it took a hundred years to uncover Dunham’s real name and the extent of his Civil War propaganda ops. During the trial, he’d been known as Sanford Conover, just one of many aliases he employed.
President Andrew Johnson had been a victim of the propaganda, and placed in a paranoid frenzy that left him easily manipulated. But after Mary Surratt was hanged, and Johnson discovered most of the tribunal had wanted her spared, he got angry with Stanton and eventually fired him.
Stanton barricaded himself in his office and refused to step down, while his cohorts in Congress (Ben Wade and Thaddeus Stevens) launched an impeachment trial against Johnson, during which they presented evidence Johnson had been the mastermind behind Lincoln’s assassination (Rabbit Hole #2).
AJRogersHad Johnson been impeached, Senator Ben Wade would have become president. But Johnson survived by one vote and a Congressional investigation was launched by the House Judiciary Committee to investigate the original trial. It had a predetermined outcome (think Warren Commission or the 9/11 Commission) and could have easily covered up all the perjuries of the initial tribunal if not for a lonely Democrat on the committee, an idealistic youngster named Andy Rogers (left), who amazingly broke down many of the witnesses in front of the press. The head judge on Stanton’s tribunal became so distressed he claimed Conover had been planted by the Confederates to discredit him, an absurd allegation that didn’t fly with the public, so he wrote a widely-distributed pamphlet blaming everything on the Pope, playing up widespread anti-Catholic sentiments in the North (Rabbit Hole #3).
Of course, when publishing their report, the Committee found no problem with the tribunal, and now that trial is considered gospel even though the official story is rife with fabrications. Historians base most research on newspaper articles, not realizing how manipulated the press was. It’s like relying on Pravda to tell you what was going on inside the Soviet Union before it fell. Most modern debate on Lincoln’s assassination has been centered on the relatively inconsequential level of involvement of Dr. Samuel Mudd and Mary Surratt, both of whom were certainly aware of the kidnapping plot, but neither of whom were involved in the murder. It wasn’t until 1938 that an outsider was allowed access to the War Department records and even though the records were purged many times over the decades to remove incriminating evidence, there’s still more than enough to crack the case. And over the years, new information continues to come to light thanks to the army of citizen researchers.
Yet new rabbit holes continue to appear with amazing frequency obviously designed to misdirect and confuse the researchers. And don’t you know, these rabbit holes often appear immediately after some new revelation? But if you avoid falling into the traps, and just deal with the primary documents of the period (most of which are available free online), it becomes clear Stanton, Wade and Stevens plotted Lincoln’s murder and then covered up their involvement.

Stanton and Sherman

On March 28, 1865, Generals Grant and Sherman invited President Abraham Lincoln to a meeting on the River Queen steamer to discuss the coming end of the Civil War. George Healy produced a painting of that conference (shown left) and titled it The Peacemakers. During this meeting, Lincoln undoubtedly expressed a desire for Southern forgiveness as he planned to allow rebels to return to their seats in Congress provided they signed the loyalty oath. Lincoln wanted to heal the nation from years of bloody war and he knew this mission required kindness and an end to brutality. But this attitude was in opposition to his leaders in Congress, Ben Wade and Thaddeus Stevens, who wanted to punish and pillage the South. Lincoln had just been elected to a second term and was making plans with his generals in the field, circumventing Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, who’d been ushered into his seat of power four years earlier through his friendship with Senator Wade.

In two weeks Lincoln was assassinated and Stanton took control of the nation through martial law, immediately issuing a blizzard of telegrams and orders, including one to General Sherman: “I FIND EVIDENCE THAT AN ASSASSIN IS ALSO ON YOUR TRACK, AND I BESEECH YOU TO BE MORE HEEDFUL THAN MR. LINCOLN WAS OF SUCH KNOWLEDGE.”
This telegram confirms Stanton’s awareness that a letter written by F. H. Morse of the London Consulate dated March 17th, 1865, had recently been brought to his attention by Secretary of State W. Seward.
“I herewith enclose for your perusal two private letters received this week from “B,” my secret agent in France….He is a business agent of the rebels.” These letters claimed two fully-funded assassins had been dispatched from France, one to kill Seward and the other to kill Sherman.

Shortly after delivering these letters to the War Department, Seward was nearly killed in a carriage accident and gravely injured. He was bed-ridden when the actual assassination attempt was made nine days later. Despite clear warnings of danger, neither Lincoln nor Seward had been protected, and Seward only survived because Lewis Powell’s gun misfired and his knife failed to penetrate the metal brace that had been installed on Seward’s cheek and neck to hold his shattered jaw together. Don’t you find it odd Stanton never shared any knowledge of these letters with Lincoln? And that he lied to Sherman in his telegram, claiming Lincoln had ignored these warnings, when it was Stanton who had actually ignored them?

The night of the assassination, Lincoln had gone to the War Department requesting additional protection as he was having nightmares of his imminent death. Both Stanton and his primary aide Major Eckert are on record refusing to accompany Lincoln to Ford’s theater that night, as both claimed they had late work to do, although both seem to have gone home at their usual hour. Stanton should have been posting armed guards around Lincoln and Seward, but he didn’t.

On April 18, three days after Lincoln’s assassination, General Sherman accepted the surrender of General J.E. Johnston and his terms included a recognition of rights of rebel soldiers as soon as they deposited their arms in a Federal armory and signed the Union loyalty oath. In this matter, Sherman was following the wishes of the slain President. However, Stanton went into a rage when he learned of Sherman’s terms of surrender, and immediately planted stories in Northern papers accusing Sherman of treason. When these papers arrived at Sherman’s camp in North Carolina, his soldiers made a display of burning all copies. Anger among his rank and file was such that a few began to wonder if Sherman might not march to Washington and seize power from Stanton, who was defacto President as he dominated the weak-willed Andrew Johnson. It would take months before Johnson worked up the courage to fire Stanton, and when he finally did, Stanton barricaded himself in his office and launched an impeachment trial against Johnson in a bid to save his status.

This is just one of the dozens of damning threads of information that point to an inside job in Lincoln’s murder, so why is there a cottage industry of so-called experts refusing to allow any hint of Stanton’s involvement in this crime? I suspect it may be because if America realized the truth of Lincoln’s murder, they might also begin to question the murders of JFK, RFK and MLK because those were also inside jobs, and they all have similar cottage industries putting out disinfo to muddy the investigative waters.

Despite the fact eight designated patsies were on trial, and Lincoln not yet buried, Stanton ordered Washington draped in patriotic bunting and requested the two largest armies parade through the city in a victory celebration. The Army of the Potomac marched first. The parade took seven hours and the cavalry alone stretched for seven miles. The next day it was Sherman’s turn. His soldiers were different. They did not have such splendid uniforms. Many were barefoot. They had not done any parading in months. Yet they far out-dazzled the Army of the Potomac with their discipline and energy, and Sherman became the hero of the parade. But when he arrived at the parade stand, where President Johnson and General Grant were seated, he dismounted and made a public display of refusing to shake hands with Stanton. There’s no doubt Sherman was aware of machinations going on at the trial, as his brother-in-law Tom Ewing had been appointed to defend Dr. Samuel Mudd and two others, and was doing a terrific job of shredding the government’s case against them. Ewing managed to save his clients from the gallows, and they all would soon be pardoned by President Johnson once Stanton was disgraced and the impeachment failed. Sherman refused all offers to become President as he considered Washington one of the most corrupt places on earth, and said given a choice between the White House or a prison cell, he’d choose the latter.

“The Big Parade” by Thomas Fleming is a riveting account of these events in a few thousand words, and you can read it here: http://54.201.12.217/content/big-parade

Killing Lincoln: the real story

I conducted my own investigation into the assassination of Abraham Lincoln after viewing Robert Redford’s, The Conspirator, a film that documents how a kangaroo military court sent an innocent Mary Surratt to the gallows to cover up the real assassination plot. It’s obvious she was railroaded if you just read the transcripts of the trial, but why?
When I told some people what I was doing, many asked if I’d read Bill O’Reilly’s recent book on the subject. I had no idea he’d written the book, much less that it had become a huge bestseller and launched a franchise of similar historical assassination books.
But after a month of research using mostly original documents from the era, I had to check out Killing Lincoln. It took me about 20 minutes to speed read the book because this is territory I know quite well at this point, so I was skimming major points of evidence, looking for rabbit holes and wanting to see which crucial characters were addressed and which left out entirely.

Unfortunately, O’Reilly pretty much faithfully follows the official cover story Booth was a lunatic operating with a small band of conspirators. His book didn’t cover the trials, so he doesn’t reveal the government’s case was based on proven perjuries.

You can’t analyze the assassination with any degree of success unless you study the role of Sanford Conover (real name Charles Dunham), the double agent and newspaper reporter who groomed the witnesses for the original trial. Another important figure left out of most books is Simon Wolf, of B’nai B’rith, who was close to John Wilkes Booth and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. We know Wolf held a private meeting with Booth the day of the assassination at the National Hotel because many years later, Wolf wrote about this meeting in his memoirs, and seems to have told some lies while doing so, so what was Wolf covering up?

O’Reilly invents a lot of details and pretends to know people’s inner thoughts, but never figured out the alleged assassination attempts on Vice President Johnson, General Grant and Edwin Stanton were all invented for the trial, and there’s not a shred of evidence anyone was supposed to be killed that night except Lincoln and William Seward, which makes total sense since they were the only ones pushing for Southern forgiveness. Lincoln wanted to pardon the South and allow them back into Congress after the war, something that greatly upset the radical Republican cabal that had captured Congress and actually put Lincoln into power. But Lincoln was drifting off the course set by his party leaders, and that’s why he was murdered.

I just published my own book in time for the 150th anniversary: Killing Lincoln: The Real Story, because O’Reilly never gets close to the truth.
The key suspects in this case are Edwin Stanton, Thaddeus Stevens, Salmon Chase and Ben Wade, and I’ve uncovered forensic evidence from the period that links them to the plot. Funny how Stevens and Wade never get a mention in O’Reilly’s book, even though they held a meeting with other leaders of the radicals in Congress the day after the assassination during which Stevens referred to Lincoln’s death as a “godsend.”

The morning after

Lincoln debates Wade-Davis with Radical before his pocket veto.
Lincoln debates Wade-Davis with Radicals before his pocket veto.

Look in the shadows around the edges of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, and you might find some useful information. I find the meeting at Ben Wade’s the morning after pretty fascinating.
Although Lincoln had been elevated to the Presidency by a shaky alliance of two dozen Republican Congressmen and Cabinet members, and he went along with their War to End Slavery, he refused to follow their tack when it came to treating the South as a banana republic with zero representation and tons of new taxation afterwards, which is why he vetoed the Wade-Davis Bill and was planning a secret peace agreement.
Lincoln had just started his second term when the war drew to a close, which meant he was going to be in control for a long time. And that is why Lincoln had to go.
Thaddeus Stevens is often correctly painted as the Robespierre of the Civil War, but Wade is also a good fit for that role. They both seem completely without scruples when it comes to achieving an agenda. The strange thing about the top abolitionists is a lack of love for fellow man, as they seem driven mostly by hate. Before joining this cabal Stevens had been an anti-mason, yet many in this new circle were certainly masons. Power, wealth and glory seems a more likely motivation driving some of these men, and having ardent anti-slave opinions was the fastest way to rise within this cabal.
Wade-Davis Bill
Wade-Davis Bill

George Julian (head of the Agriculture Committee), Zachariah Chandler, and John Covode assembled at Wade’s house when they learned Lincoln was mortally wounded and expected to soon die. Stevens was also in attendance, and would write later of this meeting:
“Their hostility towards Lincoln’s policy of conciliation and contempt for his weakness were undisguised; and the universal feeling among radical men here is that his death is a godsend. It really seems so, for among the last acts of his official life was an invitation to some of the chief rebel conspirators to meet in Richmond and confer with us on the subject of peace.”
And there you have it, the real reason Lincoln had to go, and go quickly….was he was planning a meeting with Jefferson Davis and the Confederate Cabinet to work out a peace proposal. All these men would soon praise Lincoln and help elevate him to sainthood, and never say another bad word about him, but in reality they didn’t just celebrate his death, a few undoubtedly helped plot it.



Andrew Rogers is a key to the Lincoln assassination conspiracy

An “honest” man in Washington D.C. is one who stays bought after being bought once, but now and then an anomaly slips through, threatening to blow the lid off the systemic corruption. Such an anomaly was Andrew Jackson Rogers, self-taught lawyer and Democratic Party member who served Congress representing New Jersey’s 4th district during the Civil War.

On January 10, 1866, the House passed a resolution requesting “grounds, facts, or accusations upon which Jefferson Davis, Clement C. Clay, Jr.,…[and others] are held in confinement.”

Months had passed since a military tribunal run by Judge Advocate Joseph Holt had pronounced Davis and his top aides guilty of plotting President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Yet Davis and others were still being held incommunicado in Virginia, and not being forced to come to Washington to undergo the punishment meted out to their alleged operatives who’d been hanged for supposedly following their orders.

The files on the conspiracy trial had been immediately sealed and not available for review by anyone in the interest of national security. A glaring problem, however, was the star witness in the tribunal, Sanford Conover (real name Charles Dunham) had since been exposed as a serial perjurer whose testimony on just about anything was probably available for the right fee. Now the House of Representatives was demanding to see the evidence used to convict Davis and hang four people.

Rather than play along with the government’s cover story and rubber stamp a committee report, Representative Rogers, the sole Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, decided to subject the witnesses to serious cross examination. Rogers probably did not realize behind the scenes, at least one witness was already getting cold feet, as revealed in a letter sent to Conover by “M.”

“That villain Campbell has divulged the whole arrangement to Davis’ friends and will, if possible be pushed before the committee. I have spent on to assist you in getting him sweet again, so that he will stand by his story, or else keep out of the way. It must be done at any cost. I am prepared with the needful. Old 279 and nr 8 were at headquarters the day before yesterday and are furious. We shall be rewarded if we save their bacon. It must be done …”.

Since the Washington addresses of Senators Thaddeus Stevens and Ben Wade correspond to those number codes, they should have been implicated in the plot the day this letter was uncovered. It was undoubtedly written by Richard Montgomery, another of the tribunal’s key witnesses and an admitted Confederate spy/Union double agent. Along with Edwin Stanton and Salmon Chase, Stevens and Wade represented the controlling core of the Radical Republican cabal running Washington during the Civil War.

The “villain Campbell” was William A. Campbell (real name either Joseph A. Hoare or Hoome) and attempts were made by Holt to either “get him in the traces again” or at least to make sure he was not called before the committee. Apparently Holt possessed information that would land Campbell in prison for ten years if made public. Campbell was quickly taken into “protective custody” and held some private conferences with Holt, in which he promised to stick to the official story, which is why he ended up testifying on May 8, 1866.

The best summary of Campbell’s testimony I’ve discovered was written by James W. Thompson for the CHAB, a revisionist non-profit historical society located in Belgium of all places: [Campbell] proceeded to admit that the testimony in his deposition was false, that Conover had prepared his testimony, and that he had memorized it and had repeated it to Holt. He admitted that he was guilty of perjury, and told the committee that he had been paid $500 by Holt, $100 by Conover, and had been given another $300 for traveling expenses. Both the committee and Holt’s entire apparatus of perjurers were thrown into consternation.

Campbell was the first to fold, but not the last. A shady physician named Dr. Merritt admitted receiving the biggest bribe: $6,000 for his testimony. Mr. Snevel initially claimed he’d gotten a mere $375, although a newspaper reporter would discover Snevel had gotten an additional $1,000. Rogers established that five witnesses had used false names, including Conover, his wife and his sister-in-law.

Instead of arresting Conover as ringleader of this scam, however, he was mysteriously sent back to New York City accompanied by a sergeant-at-arms of the committee for the purpose of finding more witnesses. Immediately after arrival, he eluded the guard and disappeared.

Stanton’s good friend Representative George S. Boutwell wrote the majority report, ignoring the exposed perjuries and bribes of the witnesses who’d melted under Rogers’ cross-examination. Boutwell’s foregone conclusion was that Davis had been privy to the plot and Confederate documents would reveal this in time, although he admitted no hard evidence had yet emerged. Meanwhile, Rogers was given less than 48 hours to digest the court transcripts, depositions and documents in order to compose a blistering dissenting opinion.

Boutwell had done everything possible to conceal these incriminating documents and wanted them burned, and Rogers’ report carried no weight, but it did help catapult Judge Advocate Holt into a state of “intense personal excitement” such that Holt began demanding a court of inquiry to clear his name, a demand ignored by Stanton since it would have just opened up more wormholes in their flimsy and entirely imaginary case.

But too much damage had been done by the Rogers report because President Andrew Johnson finally was made aware that the majority of officers who’d sat on the tribunal remained unconvinced of Mary Surratt’s guilt and had all signed a petition requesting presidential clemency, a petition never shown to Johnson until long after Surratt swung from the gallows. Johnson was so infuriated he demanded Stanton’s resignation and Stanton responded by barricading himself in his office and launching an impeachment case against Johnson, a case built partially on the premise Johnson was the true instigator of the Lincoln assassination. It was an epic battle Stanton would lose by one vote, and that finally signaled the end of his once powerful and incredibly corrupt political career.

Only a handful of scholars have shown any interest in this Congressional investigation, which sheds so much light on the plot, and the Lincoln assassination is clouded by faithful allegiance to the official story, despite the fact military tribunals for civilians would soon be declared fraudulent and illegal by the U.S. courts. Unfortunately, that was 17 months after civilian Surratt was hanged by one.

“The cool turpitude of the whole crew sickened me with shame,” wrote Rogers in his dissenting statement, “and made me sorrow over the fact that such people could claim the name American.”

Coda: In closing his penetrating analysis of this incident, James W. Thompson wrote: “I might add that it still galls me to this day when I reflect that it was this vicious scoundrel Stanton who is the man responsible for the slogan which appears on all our American coins and paper money—In God We Trust. If there was ever a worse hypocrite, I don’t know his name!”

(Excerpted from Killing Lincoln: The Real Story, link below)