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

Why the Lincoln assassination matters

President Lincoln’s death was the first successful presidential assassination in United States history and as such deserves attention because many of the details mirror those found in later assassinations. The biggest missing piece from the officially sanctioned history are the names of the secret societies that manipulated events behind the scenes and the political operatives they often employed. If you saw Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, you saw that passage of the 13th Amendment was left to some professional political fixers who traded patronage jobs for votes.

John Wilkes Booth was an intelligence operative and possible member of a devious Southern rights secret society called the Knights of the Golden Circle, which had thousands of members sprinkled throughout the north. The network was uncovered by a Union War Department investigation shortly after the Civil War broke out and could have been set-up in anticipation of the war.

Prior to the assassination, Booth had made frequent trips to New York City and Canada (Montreal), and the reasons for these trips remain unknown, but since Booth was a spy working for the Confederacy, it’s safe to assume these were not vacations or family visits to his brother’s brownstone.

I believe Booth could have been meeting with Charles Dunham, a master spook based in New York who wrote under various names for a variety of New York papers. All his stories were immense fabrications.

The most likely candidate as Grand Poobah of the Lincoln hit would be Jay Gould, who made more money on Wall Street during the war than anyone else.

A few years ago, a researcher suggested Booth may have been meeting with Congressman and former Mayor of New York, Fernando Wood, who wanted New York City to secede from the Union in support of the South. Wood was a shipping merchant who rose to Grand Sachem of the Society of St. Tammany, the group that gained control over the city by uniting its just arriving immigrant population. Wood also apparently controlled a vicious Five Points gang known as the Dead Rabbits, whose totem was an impaled rabbit on a spike that was carried into street battles against the Bowery Boys on the Lower East Side.

But when Republicans got control of the New York State legislature, they attempted to disarm the Democrat Wood by eliminating his corrupt Municipal Police force, replacing it with a “Metropolitan” police force under their command. On June 16, 1857, Captain George W. Walling of the newly formed Metropolitan Police arrived at City Hall with an arrest warrant for Wood for the crime of selling the position of Street Commissioner to Charles Devlin for $50,000. However, 300 members of the Municipal Police (which refused to disband) were guarding the mayor, and tossed Walling and his warrant into the street, inciting an ensuing melee that lasted for days known today as the “New York City police riot.”

Since Wood represented Wall Street interests invested in the cotton industry, which involved both the South and Great Britain, he became an open supporter of the Southern cause, and was probably an equally active supporter of the Southern secret service. Spies were everywhere during the Civil War, and this landscape was dotted with double agents.

But one of the most ruthless and most effective secret services was being run by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, through his dirty tricks specialist Lafayette Curry Baker, a man famous for fabricating evidence and strong-arming bribes. It appears Stanton had a double agent planted inside Booth’s conspiracy, a man who worked as a clerk at the War Department named Louis Weichmann. Another possibility, of course, is that Stanton was fomenting the murder plot, and not just observing it from a distance.

Both Wood and Stanton have major parts in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, and many of their lines are real, like when Stanton erupts at Lincoln, “I am not going to listen to another one of your stories!” Wood is portrayed as a charming Southerner with a biting wit, and does not convey the ruthless gangster he actually was.

Strangely, Baker was demoted and shipped off to New York City just prior to the assassination. I believe this was to prevent him from stumbling across the plot, as he soon came to suspect Stanton’s complicity, but dared not shared these feelings with anyone.

The night of the assassination General Grant was scheduled to sit beside Lincoln during the play at Ford’s Theater, but apparently the Secretary of War ordered Grant elsewhere, which meant Grant’s entourage and body guards were not at the theater. Meanwhile, Stanton assigned a notorious drunk as the only guard for Lincoln, a man who left his post to have a drink at the tavern across the street as soon as the play started. Booth was having a drink in that same tavern and probably witnessed the guard arrive at the bar, signaling his coast was clear. Ask yourself why Booth carried only a one-shot derringer. Obviously, he was not expecting interference.

Once Lincoln was shot, Stanton should have become a suspect, but he was able to completely control the investigation by quickly rounding up all the suspects except Booth within 48 hours. Baker published a book titled The Secret Service in the Late War (John Potter & Co., 1874) and revealed the existence of Booth’s diary. This revelation prompted a Congressional investigation, and when Stanton was forced to produce the diary in Congress during President Johnson’s impeachment trial, Baker announced 18 leaves were missing.

Read Baker’s book here:
http://archive.org/stream/secretserviceinl00bakeiala/secretserviceinl00bakeiala_djvu.txt