Welcome back to Life of Heritage Corner! A while back, I mentioned that I might do a post on the Lincoln Assassination in this series. It was met with requests, so I decided to go for it! The murder of the 16th president has long been of interest to me, because of all the stories and people involved and misconceptions surrounding motives and perspectives of the “main characters,” if you will. Today, I’m sharing some bits I find particularly interesting that aren’t usually covered. Let’s roll!
Not many people know that Lincoln actually died on the floor of the president’s box in Ford’s Theater. Dr. Charles Leale was the first to treat Lincoln, resuscitating him with mouth to mouth. Lincoln was then carried to the Peterson House across the street from the theater in an attempt to salvage Lincoln’s reputation. (The idea of the president dying in a theater on Good Friday was appalling to the general population. Funny no one seemed to care that he had been there in the first place…)
2| Stanton was a monster.
Mary Lincoln was understandably distraught over the events of that night, and, never being a lady of strong mental stability, was in a hysterical state of mind. This however does not justify Secretary of War Edwin Stanton in banning her from the bedside. She was not with her husband in his last moments because of him. Heartless, cruel and inexcusable.
3| Lincoln’s body was wrapped in an Union flag.
Obviously inappropriate, but since the flag’s stars did not match the actual number of states in the Union at that time, I suppose I’ll let that slide *halo*
4| Booth was not a Southerner.
John Wilkes Booth’s father and mother were both from England. They later came to America and I will agree, Booth was an American citizen. But he was not a southerner. That’s not something you can change just by moving to a certain part of the country. That takes generations. Booth grew up in Maryland, another mark against him being “southern.” Sure, it’s south of the Mason-Dixon, but culturally, the south doesn’t consider them as a southern state 😉 (And don’t come telling me my baby is gonna be half yankee, lol! The Peterson clan might have the accent but not the culture, and they haven’t been in Maryland long enough to be yankees; they are from Tennessee 😉)
5| Tad Lincoln wasn’t with his family that night.
Tad was representing the Lincoln family at Ford’s rival theater, Grover’s, watching Aladdin and his Magic Lamp. A chaperone was with him. And how did he learn his father was shot? From a man who got up on stage and announced it to the crowd. All people could hear following this announcement was Tad, 12-years-old, screaming.
6| The original plan wasn’t to kill Lincoln.
Booth had been planning for over a year to kidnap Lincoln and turn him over the Confederacy to use as a bargaining chip. This plan was not endorsed by any Confederate organizations and it’s very unlikely that President Davis was even aware of this proposition.
7| The Garrett family didn’t know who Booth was.
The Garrett family had housed Booth for a day prior to the showdown with federal troops. But it wasn’t until the soldiers showed up and surrounded their barn that they learned the identity of their guest.
8| Willie Jett is the reason they found Booth.
A soldier from Mosby’s rangers, Jett was the one who introduced Booth to the Garretts and ultimately led the federal entourage to the farm.
9| Mary Surratt didn’t deserve to die.
The whole reason she was put on trial was because her son was a friend of Booth’s and they had held meetings in her house about the kidnapping scheme. Did she aid Booth in his escape? Yes, ultimately. Does that warrant a death sentence? No.
10| There is some controversy over whether it was actually John Wilkes Booth they killed that night.
I cannot prove anything one way or the other. I personally believe it was Booth that was killed, but there is a lot of evidence about connections to the assassination that magically disappeared. And it’s interesting that no one came after Stanton, who put his stamp of approval on many atrocities committed by the Union, including the murder of civilians and torture and murder of Prisoners of War. Pages of previously intact diary entries in Booth’s date book disappeared after falling into Stanton’s hands. Postmortem photographs of Booth also disappeared. Some claimed that the dead man had auburn hair, not black and they were silenced. Booth’s body was hidden from the public.
Again, I’m not saying it wasn’t Booth, but we haven’t been told the whole story. Stanton wasn’t above hiding or destroying evidence that didn’t fit his narrative. He proved that by hiding the shawl that Jefferson Davis was wearing when he was captured so the public wouldn’t find out that the president wasn’t wearing a dress. Scientists and historians have been trying to get Booth’s body released for a DNA test, but have been blocked on every turn. Just saying, there’s more to this story that we may never know.
Don’t come after me, I’m just sharing both sides of the story XP
Which fact surprised you the most? Have one you would like to share? Interested in some resources on Lincoln, the assassination and the “Booth Conspiracy?” Let me know in the comments if I should do another post on the resources I’ve found!
Have a blessed day and God Bless America!
Hello and welcome back to Life of Heritage Corner! I hope you are having an amazing Monday! I’ve been promising book reviews for a while and today I am bringing you two! I’ve always had a morbid fascination with the murder of Abraham Lincoln (call it what it is, don’t hide behind fancy words) and have read more about it than the battle of Gettysburg and that’s saying a lot, since that is my favorite battle to study, lol! (Would y’all like a 10TRF post about the Lincoln Murder? Comment below!)
These reviews are of two different books by the same author. The first is the young people’s version of the second, and tbh, I was surprised by how different they were. Without further ado, let’s jump into these reviews!
Chasing Lincoln’s Killer
By James L. Swanson
|| Amazon ||
About the Book ||
NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author James Swanson delivers a riveting account of the chase for Abraham Lincoln's assassin.
Based on rare archival material, obscure trial manuscripts, and interviews with relatives of the conspirators and the manhunters, CHASING LINCOLN'S KILLER is a fast-paced thriller about the pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth: a wild twelve-day chase through the streets of Washington, D.C., across the swamps of Maryland, and into the forests of Virginia.
About the Author ||
James L. Swanson is the award-winning author of the bestseller Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer. His other books include Chasing Lincoln's Killer, an adaptation of Manhunt for young adults, and his follow-up, "The President Has Been Shot!: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy", which was a finalist for the YALSA-ALA Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction award. He has held a number of government and think-tank posts in Washington, D.C.
My Review ||
This book was good for the most part! It had excellent information, though some basic facts needed correcting. It assumed too strongly that Dr. Mudd was deserved to be punished when his only crime was knowing B
ooth. Though it did clarify he wasn’t involved in killing Lincoln. It also pushed the Lincoln Worship narrative to an almost cultish point in my opinion for a children’s book. It was very heavy-handed on calling the Confederacy rebels and such. It seemed more like an indoctrination campaign, lol!
I did appreciate how much detail was put into this book! It’s a great comprehensive book for young people that gives them information that will encourage them to share with others! It’s not the generic fact book; it’s got unique little-known facts!
At the conclusion of the book, there was a comment about Lincoln being the hero of the story; this was not true, as he had little “screen time” and most of the things said about him were incorrect. There was no protagonist in this story. Nothing wrong with that! Not all stories have a good guy.
I recommend it for anyone who loves history, true crime, and dramatic anti-heroes!
Recommended for 14+ || Content meter: 3.5* || Quality: 6 || Personal Enjoyment: 5 || Overall: 5
*One major swear word that I remember, in a quote. There is also great detail about injuries/blood. Moderate censoring is needed for younger readers.
Manhunt: The 12-Day Hunt for Lincoln’s Killer
By James L. Swanson
Adult Narrative Non-Fiction
|| Amazon ||
About the Book ||
The murder of Abraham Lincoln set off the greatest manhunt in American history--the pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth. From April 14 to April 26, 1865, the assassin led Union cavalry troops on a wild, 12-day chase from the streets of Washington, D.C., across the swamps of Maryland, and into the forests of Virginia, while the nation, still reeling from the just-ended Civil War, watched in horror and sadness.
Based on rare archival materials, obscure trial transcripts, and Lincoln’s own blood relics Manhunt is a fully documented, fascinating tale of murder, intrigue, and betrayal. A gripping hour-by-hour account told through the eyes of the hunted and the hunters, it is history as it’s never been read before.
About the Author ||
James L. Swanson is the author of the New York Times bestseller Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer. He is an attorney who has written about history, the Constitution, popular culture, and other subjects for a variety of publications, including the Wall Street Journal, American Heritage, Smithsonian, and the Los Angeles Times. Mr. Swanson serves on the advisory council of the Ford's Theatre Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Campaign and is a member of the advisory committee of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.
My Review ||
This book is my favorite! It’s chock full of information that is incredibly difficult to find! People you had no idea were connected with the death of Lincoln and Booth, the mad dash through Virginia, and the final hours of both men.
There is some mild Lincoln worship and anti-southern propaganda, but not nearly as bad as the children’s version. There are multiple swear words in quotes that need censoring and there are some “Too much information!” moments that should be censored out. Remember, Booth was an actor, and the actors’ reputation of today applies to the past as well. The sections on Boston Corbett also need attention!
I learned so much about how Washington City was laid out, how interconnected the people were in each other's lives and how such a scheme could be pulled off with just a few hours' notice. It’s disturbing! Thank God we have more safeguards in place now, but it’s alarming just the same. I do wish they had emphasized more how the South did not sanction or condone Booth’s actions. So I will say it for the author: we do NOT as a whole believe that this was a proper move. As much as I dislike Lincoln, this was not the proper course of justice. It was his night to die, or he would not have died. But it was not Booth’s call to make; that was God’s.
I recommend this book to anyone who loves history, narrative non-fiction, and true crime. It’s well written and well executed! Grab a copy today!
Recommended for 18+ || Content meter: 3 || Quality: 10 || Personal Enjoyment: 9 || Overall: 9
Have you read these books? Do you have a recommendation for a book on this subject? Would you like a post of random facts about the Lincoln Murder? Comment below!
Have a Blessed Day and God Bless America!
I don’t know about you, but I love me some totally random facts! And even more so, I love me a totally random battle that not many people have heard about! So today, we are going to look at what many say is the actual first battle of the War Between the States!
1| Where and When. This battle took place on June 10th, 1861, 160 years ago! The battle took place in Big Bethel Virginia and is one of the lesser-known battles of the war.
2| It All Happened Here. Many people refer to either Ft. Sumter or First Manassas when talking of the first battle of the War Between the States. But Big Bethel is actually the first.
3| Looking at the Numbers… As with most battles of the war, the Confederate Soldiers were outnumbered. They had under 1,500 men while the Union invaders had around 3,500. But you know us, that makes the odds about even! *halo*
4| The Men Behind the Moment. Two lesser-known Generals were in command of the opposing armies. For the federals, Brigadier General Ebenezer W. Peirce led them into battle. For the Confederacy, it was Colonel John B. Magruder.
5| Confederate Gold Star Family. This battle saw the death of the very first Confederate soldier in the field. Private Henry Wyatt was the sole Confederate soldier killed in the battle, the only fatality of 8 Southern soldiers injured.
6| How did he Die? Being the first enlisted casualty of battle, it’s no wonder we know how it happened. Colonel D. H. Hill requested 4 volunteers to set fire to a house federal troops had commandeered and were using to pin down the Southern troops with their firepower. Henry was one of them. They never made it to the house, and Henry died in the line of fire.
7| The Fate of the House. After Henry’s death, the volunteers were recalled and the house was taken out by artillery fire.
8| Why Here? Confederate Forces hoped to dislodge troops from Ft. Monroe, reclaiming it for the Confederacy. Unfortunately, the same fort where Custis Lee (Robert E. Lee’s son) was born at remained the only Southern Fort in Virginia to remain in federal control through the entire war.
9| Tar Heel Legacy. North Carolina has often been known as the state that was “First at Big Bethel and Last at Palmito Ranch.” We lost more soldiers than any other state and sent the most men to the Confederate Army. As usual, we had a big hand in the events at the battle of Big Bethel.
10| The Victorious Victors *Halo* The Confederacy of course. They couldn’t let the first battle at home be won by the opposing army!
Have you heard of this battle before today? Is this the first time? I encourage you to do some research and share some of your findings in the comments below!
Have a Blessed Day and God Bless America!
Hello and welcome back to Life of Heritage Corner! Today, I’m going to be sharing my first History post of the year! I’m thrilled to bring you Episode 13 of the Soldier Life Series! Today we will be looking at the duties of an 1860’s Colonel!
Just a disclaimer, I am not an expert on the War Between the States, though I am considered an amateur historian on the topic. I try my best to be accurate. This series is designed to educate the history buff/reader and assist authors in their research. If you find that some of my information is incorrect, I would love to hear from you! With that said, let’s hop into it!
As I mentioned in this post, I wasn’t able to find a whole lot of information. I’m pulling this information from Kautz’s Customs of Service for Officers of the Army. It’s a fantastic resource!
Colonel is the highest rank in the regiment. Above him is the Brigadier General, who commands a brigade. About four regiments make up a brigade, so that’s four Colonels in the unit. As with most units, the regiment takes on the personality of its Commanding officer. This could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the Colonel’s demeanor.
The primary duty of the Colonel was commanding the regiment. He could serve in other capacities (aide to a general or political figure, medical officer, adjutant, etc.), but usually, he was a battle officer. He might be called upon to serve in place of a Brigadier General if the need arose, serve on a court-martial or some other special assignment.
Colonels were also responsible for approving requisitions for his regiment as they were submitted to him by the quartermaster. He also has a say in the amounts of rations issued to each member of the regiment. (For more organizational and administrative details, check the above link!)
Want to research some famous Colonels of the War Between the States? Check out Col. Alexander “Sandie” Pendleton (CSA) and Col. Robert Gould Shaw (USA)!
Writing Prompt: Have any facts about Colonel’s you care to share? Know of another interesting colonel?
That’s all for now!
Have a blessed day!
Welcome back to Soldier Life! Today, I’m doing a post on the Lieutenant Colonel! I’ve done some advanced research, and I’m gonna go ahead and tell you that information on the Lieutenant Colonel and the full Colonel is not as detailed as the lower ranks. So be prepared for these posts to be shorter 😉
As usual, I will link the last post in this series here. And also, I will give my general disclaimer that I am not a military nor 1860’s expert. These are just things I wished I had known about the era or thought other authors/history buffs would find helpful/interesting. The posts are non-biased and intended for all readers. I hope you enjoy!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.
Subscribe for Blog Updates and a Free Short Story!