The Baltimore Plot: The First Conspiracy to Assassinate Abraham Lincoln

17 Nov

The Baltimore Plot: The First Conspiracy to Assassinate Abraham Lincoln

The Baltimore Plot: The First Conspiracy to Assassinate Abraham Lincoln

Michael J. Kline

Language: English

Pages: 536

ISBN: 1594160716

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

"In a thrilling detective story of conspiracy, treachery and assassination, Michael J. Kline suggests how close the Baltimore plotters came to achieving their goal, and reveals how Lincoln and a few guards outwitted them. Meticulously researched and written with verve, "The Baltimore Plot" takes readers aboard Lincoln's inaugural train for a perilous and unforgettable journey." —James L. Swanson, author of the Edgar Award-winning New York Times bestseller Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer

On February 11, 1861, the "Lincoln Special" - Abraham Lincoln's private train—began its journey from Springfield, Illinois, to the City of Washington, carrying the president-elect to his inauguration as the sixteenth president of the United States. Considered a "sectional candidate" by the South, and winning the election without the popular vote, Lincoln was so despised that seven states immediately seceded from the Union. Over the next twelve days, Lincoln would speak at numerous stops, including Indianapolis, Columbus, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Albany, New York, and Philadelphia, expressing his desire to maintain the Union. But as Lincoln made his way east, America's first private detective, Allan Pinkerton, and a separate undercover operation by New York City detectives, uncovered startling evidence of a conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln during his next-to-last stop in Baltimore. Long a site of civil unrest—even Robert E. Lee's father, Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee, was nearly beaten to death in its streets—Baltimore provided the perfect environment for a strike. The largest city of a border state with secessionist sympathies, Baltimore had been infiltrated by paramilitary groups bent on killing Lincoln, the "Black Republican." The death of the president-elect would, it was supposed, throw the nation into chaos and allow the South to establish a new nation and claim Washington as its capital. Warned in time, Lincoln outfoxed the alleged conspirators by slipping through Baltimore undetected, but at a steep price. Ridiculed by the press for "cowardice" and the fact that no conspirators were charged, Lincoln would never hide from the public again. Four years later, when he sat unprotected in the balcony of Ford's Theatre, the string of conspiracies against his life finally succeeded. One of the great presidential mysteries and long a source of fascination among Lincoln scholars, the Baltimore Plot has never been fully investigated until now. In The Baltimore Plot: The First Conspiracy to Assassinate Abraham Lincoln, Michael J. Kline turns his legal expertise to evaluating primary sources in order to discover the extent of the conspiracy and culpability of the many suspects surrounding the case. Full of memorable characters, including Kate Warne, the first female undercover agent, and intriguing plot twists, the story is written as an unfolding criminal proceeding in which the author allows the reader to determine whether there was a true plot to kill Lincoln and if the perpetrators could have been brought to trial.




















York, and that Thompson was “Sampson,” and Davis probably Captain Walling, but I was very positive that Thompson was Tom Sampson,” Pinkerton wrote. “Williams said that Sherrington and others suspected those men of being Government Spies, and that they would be anihilated in Washington if opportunity offered.”36 Now in Washington, opportunity would offer. Quickly growing bored cooped up in their room at Willard's, Sampson and De Voe decided to go back downstairs. But when they approached the main

Lincoln and Buchanan, arm in arm.26 Given the circumstances under which one man was leaving and the other entering the White House, it must have been difficult to discern which man leaned on the other for support. By the time Lincoln and Buchanan emerged, their procession had been waiting on Pennsylvania Avenue at least an hour. At 9:00 a.m., Major B. B. French, marshal in chief and head of the parade, had taken his place of honor in front of City Hall, where he was joined by his aides and

necessary, in which case he would be compelled to answer. Cuthbert, Lincoln and the Baltimore Plot, pp. 140–141 n. 45, citing the Select Committee of Five's Report No. 79, pp. 144–155. 68 Cuthbert, Lincoln and the Baltimore Plot, pp. 139–140 n. 45. 69 Report No. 79, pp. 145–151. 70 The Committee, curiously, did not directly ask Ferrandini if he was a member of the National Volunteers. Ferrandini implied that he was only a member of the Constitutional Guards, but admitted that this company had

A History of the American Locomotive, p. 215. 5 Ibid., p. 216. The Pennsylvania Railroad used box-style lamps on its engines until World War I. 6 Garman reports he lit the head light before the train started. Account of Daniel E. Garman, in Flory, “Garman, Black, and the ‘Baltimore Plot’” (hereinafter Garman account), p. 101. Lamon reports that the lamps in the car were not lit. Lamon, Recollections, p. 37. 7 U.S. Naval Observatory Astronomical Applications Department data for February 22,

Secret War for the Union, p. 54. 9 By the summer of 1861, a congressional subcommittee was holding McCarthyesque hearings to determine whether any government employees held Southern sympathies. The committee received about 550 allegations and found more than 200 of them well founded. See Fishel, The Secret War for the Union, pp. 56–58. 10 Ibid., pp. 53–54. 11 Horan, The Pinkertons, p. 65. 12 U.S. Constitution, Sixth Amendment (1791). 13 Scharf, History of Maryland, vol. 3, p. 398. 14 Edward

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