For Those Who Want To Do Some Homework On The Lincoln Assassination

by Al Benson Jr.

Member, Board of Directors, Confederate Society of America

It occurs to me, in ending this series on the Lincoln assassination that there might be a handful of folks out there that want to do some of their own homework on this subject.

Getting accurate and truthful information from government sources is like looking for a needle in a haystack after you have burned the hay and stolen the needle.

So I am going to list here a few places you can start to look. Some of these I have mentioned throughout the articles but I am going to list them again. All the sources I am listing here you can find on Amazon.com  I know that because I looked them all up there before I wrote this.

These books are worth checking out. They won’t all totally agree with one another in all the particulars but they all have an underlying theme–that we have all been lied  to about the Lincoln assassination and have, in reality, been told very little real truth about it. And if we have been lied to here then you can bet the farm we have been lied to about scores of other historical events like the Kennedy assassinations and the Gulf of Tonkin incident that got us into the Viet Nam was. If you want to take it back a bit further, we were lied to about the USS Maine which got us into the Spanish American War, or even about Fort Sumter.

There is a lesson here for us–The Washington Swamp has been around lots longer than any of us ever will be and if it is ever drained it will be the Lord that does it and not any man or men, unless empowered by Him as His instruments. Sad to say, I think the Swamp will outlive Donald Trump, as its denizens comprise those in both political parties. All the “never-Trumpers” are not Demoncrats.

But I digress. Here are a few sources you can check out regarding the Swamp in Mr. Lincoln’s day.

Why Was Lincoln Murdered? by Otto Eisenschiml. Originally published back in 1937, this was reprinted in 2017. You can get it on Amazon when it’s in stock. You might have to check  on that. The fact that it is occasionally out of stock means that some folks are still reading it.

Web of Conspiracy by Theodor Roscoe. Amazon has used copies of this from $25.36 I have this one and if you are into this subject it is well worth getting.

The Reason Lincoln Had To Die by Don Thomas. A second edition of this one was reprinted in 2013 and Amazon has it. This man is an independent researcher and has a couple you tube videos up on the internet that are worth watching also.

Conspiracy Between John Wilkes Booth And The Union Army To Assassinate Abraham Lincoln  This one is advertised on Amazon for $15.99

Escape and Suicide of John Wilkes Booth by Finis L. Bates. This is a short book, only 48 pages, originally printed in 1908 and reprinted in December, 2016. Due to its size it only costs $5.99

And if you are checking stuff out on the internet be sure and go back and review all 12 parts of Dave McGowan’s excellent series Everything You Were Taught About The Lincoln Assassination Is Wrong. As I stated in my articles, McGowan asked lots of questions I never heard anyone else ask and I think some of them really should be addressed. Mr. McGowan passed away just a few years ago due to cancer, so he will not be able to do any more research in this critical area. He seems to have been an excellent researcher and I learned much from reading his articles. It would truly be great if someone could come along and pick up where he left off.

Another website I came up with in my research is http://www.impiousdigest.com/escape-suicide-john-wilkes-booth-assassin-president-lincoln  I didn’t get to do much with this one but maybe some of my readers can get something out of it.

I won’t say I will never write on this subject again, but this will have to do it for now.

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John Wilkes Booth’s Body Double

by Al Benson Jr.
Member, Board of Directors, Confederate Society of America

Stories and accounts persist as to whether someone else is buried in John Wilkes Booth’s grave. I started this series out with commentary on that, and during all of this, I have seen nothing that still does not raise the question. The facial recognition technique I noted in the first article, which compared photos of John Wilkes Booth as a young man and David George of Enid, Oklahoma as an old man seems to point to the fact that there is only a one percent chance that George was not Booth.

I expect the results of these tests will be routinely ignored by both historians who have built their careers by writing politically correct “history” and by the “news” media, so called, because this presents a situation where some of our history may well have to be corrected and rewritten and careers may be changed. History is often messy, while establishment “historians” work to provide us with certain Pollyanna visions of what really went on that just do not satisfy.

I am going to quote some of the material I have come up with, including the links listed, so folks can check out the same stuff I did. A link I checked out was https://www.mail-archieve.com that had something to do with the Learning Channel. It states, from an article posted on April 24, 2002, that: “Sunday night on the Learning Channel was a documentary on the Lincoln assassination including some documents just released by the family of Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. These documents show that Stanton searched through Northern prisons until he found a person with the initials J.W.B. Who he found was a fellow of similar looks and age of John Wilkes Booth. His name was James W. Boyd. And furthermore he had the initials of J.W.B. tattooed on his left arm. Then Stanton managed to have all of the telegraph lines shut down in and around Washington DC for six hours after the shooting of Lincoln…What the Learning Channel came up with was as hypothesis that perhaps the soldiers who shot John Wilkes Booth only thought they had shot him. The initials of J.W.B. tattooed on this guy’s arm might have proven to them that they actually had John Wilkes Booth instead of the other guy.”

Another article I came across noted that James William Boyd had been a captain in the 6th Tennessee Infantry Regiment. He was captured in 1863 and was a prisoner of war until early 1864. At that point he asked permission to be released so that he could return home to care for his seven motherless children because his wife had passed away while he was in prison. Edwin M. Stanton approved Boyd’s request in February of 1865. After that, his whereabouts remains a mystery. He was supposed to meet his son in Brownsville, Texas but he never showed up, nor was he ever heard from again. If he did end up in John Wilkes Booth’s grave then it is not surprising that he contacted no one.

Another article on https://worldhistory.us/american-history/ notes the testimony of Lieutenant Edward Doherty, who was supposed to be commanding the soldiers who went after Booth at Garrett’s Farm. The article noted: “Lieutenant Edward Doherty is testifying. Herold has run out of the flames in terror, surrendering to the soldiers. With a shot, the target of the manhunt is laid low. Herold cries out ‘Who is that that has been shot in the barn?’ Doherty says to him ‘You know well who it is.’ Says Herold, ‘No, I do not; he told me his name was Boyd.’ Doherty says ‘It is Booth and you know it.’ Says Herold ‘No, I do not know that it was Booth.’ Of course Herold’s statement to Judge Bingham, on April 27th, on the Monitor Montauk, corrects this misstatement. Several things stand out. First, remarkably, Herold’s is the only statement of all the conspirators that makes it into the official record. Herold never seems to understand what he is confessing to. However, it is clear that detectives are standing around him to make sure the details are correct. He states he met Booth while coming home, rather than thundering over the bridge after him. This may fit the detectives’ plan to craft a unified tale…In conclusion, most historians deny Boyd’s existence, through no fault of their own. The thoroughness with which the original record was cleansed means that those who do not consult primary sources rarely spot the inconsistencies that come out in official accounts. Boyd, the wounded soldier trying to get home, slips between the cracks.”

And finally, an article on https://www.henrymakow.com by researcher Mark Owen, originally published in January 2011. Mr. Owen stated: “John Wilkes Booth did not die in Garrett’s tobacco barn in 1865 as is currently supposed…James Boyd, a former Confederate agent working for the War Department was the man shot and killed in Garrett’s barn. He bore a passing resemblance to Booth aside from his red hair and mustache. Booth’s hair was jet black and he had shaved off his mustache at the home of Dr. Samuel Mudd…Not a single friend of Booth was called in to identify the body…When the blanket covering the body was lifted (Dr.) May stated, ‘There is no resemblance in that corpse to Booth, nor can I believe it to be him.’ May later changed his statement to conform with the official proclamation that Booth had been captured and killed.” So that’s now two people we have that “changed” their first statements as to who the corpse was, David Herold and Dr. May. Lots of “statement changing” going on here–for whose benefit?

Mark Owen provides a couple more tidbits relating to this. He says “Each of the 26 detectives that worked on the case received several thousand dollars apiece after signing quitclaims, stating that they had no further interest in the case. This was a big payday 150 years ago.” I have no doubt that any further interest they might have had in this case was bought and paid for.

But one more comment from Mr. Owen was rather enlightening. He stated: “In 1922, two Civil War veterans swore an affidavit stating that the body removed from the Garrett farm was not Booth. Joseph Zeigan and Wilson Kenzie said that they had served with the cavalry troop which had surrounded the barn. The man dragged from the barn wore a Confederate uniform  and on his feet were yellow brogans, the service foot gear of Johnny Reb. The two veterans were sworn to secrecy.” Of course, by 1922, there was small possibility there would be anyone left to harass them should they speak out. Another site that carried some of this same information was http://www.beyondthefold.chieftain.com So as you all can see, there is just enough information out there to cast serious doubt on the “official version.” In the intervening 150 years since the Lincoln assassination there have been several disconcerting events in our history and most of the official versions leave serious doubts anymore. The government has been caught lying way to many times for anything they say to be taken seriously. We have been lied to about Lincoln’s assassination, the assassinations of the Kennedys, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, the Gulf of Tonkin situation that got us into the Viet Nam War, the situation with the U.S.S. Liberty attack, and so much more, that the lies beggar description anymore. If we really want the truth we have to look for it ourselves. Trusting the feds to tell us the truth is, at best, a crap shoot, and, at worst, sheer insanity!

Conspiracy? Oh, Never!

by Al Benson Jr.

Member, Board of Directors, Confederate Society of America

An article called Conspiracy Theater on the internet made a couple brief comments which noted why many still think the Lincoln assassination was a conspiracy. The article noted: “Yet from the moment of the president’s murder on that drizzly Good Friday, suspicions about the actual nature of the conspiracy began to fester. Did the government have foreknowledge of Booth’s plot? Was Booth a pawn of high-ranking officials? Inevitably, 125 years after the crime of the nineteenth century, fact and lore are more than a little tangled. Still, given the abundance of odd ‘coincidences’ and curious admissions of the players, in many ways America’s first presidential assassination remains a genuine mystery.” The articles noted that most of those involved with Booth were “ne’er-do-well Northerners” with Southern sympathies. That description doesn’t quite fit Lewis Powell, the man who tried to kill Secretary of State Seward. At one point he is supposed to  have ridden with Mosby.

The article also stated that: “The more enduring–and earthbound–theories assert that Booth was working for traitors among Lincoln’s own cabinet, that he escaped with their assistance, and that the rakish actor lived to a ripe old age on a handsome government pension.” I don’t know about the part about the government pension. That seems a bit far fetched.

Author and researcher Otto Eisenschiml also noted that: “There was one man who profited by Lincoln’s assassination. This man was his Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton.’ A member of the Radical Republican faction that bitterly opposed Lincoln’s lenient reconstruction plan for the South, Stanton stood to consolidate  his own power if the North imposed a hard-line military occupation instead. As Eisenschiml and other revisionist historians saw it, Stanton’s behavior immediately preceding the assassination, and also after, was highly suspicious. Stanton refused a request by Lincoln to allow the secretary of war’s assistant, Major Thomas Eckert,  to accompany the president to the fateful performance at Ford’s Theater.  The implication, according to Eisenschiml, is that Stanton knew something  Lincoln didn’t.” You can see why Iisenschiml felt that way. Lincoln was told Eckert had to work late and so couldn’t go with him when, in actuality, Eckert went home early.

And then there was the “coincidence” of the telegraph being down at the exact time Booth was making hiss escape. Now was that handy, or what?

Dave McGowan, who did the amazing series Everything You Think You Know About The Lincoln Assassination Is Wrong noted some interesting information regarding those who actually witnessed the assassination. He said:  “Of the four potential eyewitnesses, none were ever questioned by reporters. Only one was ever questioned by authorities. Only one was ever deposed. Only one was ever called on to testify as to what he or she witnessed that evening…Despite the fact that the Lincoln assassination was billed as the Crime of the Century, authorities seem to have had no interest at all in speaking with the handful of people who actually witnessed the event.” As for Mrs. Lincoln, her only words made public about the assassination came from a letter she wrote to Edward Lewis Baker in 1877. That was twelve years after the assassination!

McGowan also noted that “Clara Harris was similarly tight-lipped about what she witnessed at Ford’s Theater.”  What little she said also came from personal correspondence. McGowan then observed: “That leaves us only with the tale told by Major Henry Rathbone,  which we already know was a hopelessly scripted, rehearsed affair that he told under oath in almost exactly the same words on no less than three occasions…It is a strange tale, to be sure, and it would seem to indicate  that Rathbone spent more time studying the physical characteristics of the room than he did watching the play….it is very hard to believe that Rathbone would have spontaneously offered up such testimony. Those details were undoubtedly provided to him as part of the script he appears to have been following.” Remember, Rathbone was an officer in the army. That means he would have been under Stanton’s influence as to what he should say publicly.

Then there was the supposed struggle between Rathbone and Booth after Lincoln was shot. McGowan again noted: “And yet none of the witnesses who claimed to see the man leap from the box mentioned seeing him struggling with Rathbone either before or while doing so. Another problem is that Rathbone claims to have suffered a substantial wound that bled profusely, so much so that his fianc’e  allegedly found herself drenched in blood, and yet of all the witnesses who said they saw the fleeing man prominently brandish a large knife as he made his exit across the stage, not one of them mentioned seeing any blood on that knife. Or on the man’s hands. Or on his clothing. How is it possible that he could have cut Rathbone so severely,  and then continued grappling with him, and yet walked away with no visible blood on him?” McGowan asked some good questions, again, questions I never saw anyone else ever ask, and we have no answers for them. The politically correct among us would just as soon such questions were never asked.

And as badly as Rathbone was supposed to have been cut up, he never went for any medical treatment. He was “merely taken home and dropped off.” McGowan told us that, according to the official story,  there were three doctors on hand, and they could not do very much for Lincoln, obviously, but why didn’t anyone think of treating Rathbone’s wound? Why did they just take him home and let it go at that?

McGowan sums it up thusly: “What we seem to have here is a situation in which: (a) witness accounts don’t allow enough time for Rathbone to have been seriously wounded; (b) Rathbone never received treatment for a serious wound; (c) the knife that allegedly inflicted the wound was bloodless just seconds  later, as was the guy carrying it; and (d) none of the self-proclaimed witnesses in the theater that night saw Rathbone grappling with his alleged assailant.”

Now remember, folks, there is no conspiracy. Nothing to see here except Booth and his merry misfits. So just believe what the government tells you and move along. Don’t look too close. Don’t see anything you shouldn’t, and above all don’t ask any questions that might be embarrassing. Do all this, and you are guaranteed to be just like Sergeant Schultz when he says “I know nothing!” That’s exactly where the feds want you–fat, dumb, and ignorant. That way they and their left-wing friends can steal your history and heritage and you will be too dumb to know what’s happening.

That’s the safe way out–but is it the most satisfying???

Stanton, Lafe Baker, And The Diary

by Al Benson Jr.
Member, Board of Directors, Confederate Society of America

Many who have commented on the Lincoln assassination and its aftermath have observed Stanton’s criticism of Abraham Lincoln. One blog I have gone over, http://www.civilwarbummer.com has noted that “Regular association with the President did not eliminate Stanton’s propensity to disagree or even to sharply criticize the President.” Lincoln was aware of most of this and just kind of sluffed it off.

The bummer blog stated that: “All of the central figures in military and government had individuals gathering surreptitious information to further their knowledge of the civil conflict, Lincoln had Ward Hill Lamon, General McClellan employed Allen Pinkerton and Stanton utilized the services of Lafayette C. Baker.” The last two listed as informants were truly lousy choices. Pinkerton had been a socialist in Scotland before escaping to America and had been a supporter of terrorist John Brown. Donnie Kennedy and I dealt with him somewhat in Lincoln’s Marxists. McClellan deserved better. The other one, Lafayette Curry Baker, was a real piece of work. He had been a vigilante in the California gold fields before the War of Northern Aggression. Once the Northern aggression started he scuttled back to the East Coast, wangled an appointment with General Winfield Scott, and started doing espionage work for the North. On his first two missions into Richmond, he was captured twice, once by the Confederates and once by his own side. It has to be embarrassing getting captured by your own people. These sortees gained him no real information, but he returned to General Scott, full of tales of his derring do and bravery, along with “fabricated Confederate intelligence.” You could always trust Lafe Baker to be a self-promoter, even if he had to stretch the truth a might. After all this. Stanton cabbaged onto Baker and made him the head of the Union Intelligence Service and gave him a job as head of the National Detective Police.

The bummer blog also noted that: “In this capacity, Baker operated essentially as the head of a secret police, seeking out and punishing any activity he deemed corrupt or rebellious. Most of Baker’s time was spent tracking down deserters from the Union Army. He also went after profiteers but only to line his own pockets. Baker arrested and jailed those who refused to share their illegal spoils from selling government supplies. Baker violated Constitutional rights without fear or reservations since he was wholly backed by Stanton. He routinely made false arrests, conducted illegal searches without warrants, and blackmailed government officials into making endorsements of his almost non-existent espionage service. No one misused his authority or office more than Lafayette Baker.”

Baker was accused of using brutal interrogation techniques against Confederate spy Belle Boyd, yet for all the inhumanity of his treatment toward her, Boyd, to her credit, did not confess, and in 1863 she was released.

Baker finally overplayed his hand, and someone caught him tapping telegraph lines between Nashville and Stanton’s office. You didn’t tap Stanton’s telegraph lines. That was enough to get him demoted and sent to New York, where he was put under the control of Charles A. Dana, the Assistant Secretary of War–another real winner! Donnie and I dealt with him in Lincoln’s Marxists  too! They never taught you in your “history” books, that Dana was the one that hired Karl Marx to write for Horace Greeley’s  newspaper. You didn’t really need to know that, lest you be tempted to ask questions about the connections between these 19th century Leftists and how they all promoted one another.

Interestingly enough, when Lincoln was assassinated, Stanton grabbed Baker and hauled him back to Washington. It seems that this situation merited someone that was really lowdown and dirty, and Lafe Baker fit the bill on both counts.

At that point, Lafe Baker performed an amazing feat of “detective” work. The bummer blog tells us that he “…arrived on April 16th and his first act was to send his agents into Maryland to pick up what information they could about the people involved in the assassination. Within two days, all of the conspirators were in custody. Somehow, Baker knew exactly where he could find the alcoholic George A. Atzerodt whose nerve had failed him when it came time to kill Vice President Andrew Johnson. He also knew that Seward’s would-be assassin, Lewis Payne, could be found in the Washington, D.C. boarding house of Mary Surratt. Colonel Baker knew to arrest Edward Spangler, the carpenter at Ford’s Theater…Lafayette Baker had all the answers within forty-eight hours, including the escape route taken by John Wilkes Booth and David Herold.” All in forty-eight hours, is that amazing detective work or what? The qualifier here being the “or what?”

After talking with Stanton, Baker sent a 25-man cavalry detachment, supposedly under the command of Lt. Edward Doherty, but really under the command of Luther Baker and Col. Everton J. Conger, to pursue Booth. Interestingly enough, they knew right where to go. They made a bee-line for Garrett’s farm, where they found Herold and Booth (or somebody) in the tobacco barn. The rest is “history” depending on who you believe.

One of the things they took off the body of whoever was in the barn with Herold was a leather-bound diary. “It was the diary that most interested Conger, an object he had been expressly directed by Lafayette Baker to look for.” How do you suppose Baker knew enough to look for a diary? Another of those nagging questions nobody ever bothered asking. Did Baker know Booth well enough to know he kept one? That possibility opens up a can of worms.

So Conger turned over Booth’s personal effects to Lafe Baker. And then the Bummer blog noted: “Baker sat silently before Conger, then told his subordinate to witness the fact that he was going to count the exact number of pages in the diary. Then he studied the diary at great length, making notes. Baker then told Conger that he would accompany him to see Stanton…It was obvious to Conger that Baker had wanted him present when he turned over Booth’s effects to the Secretary of War, so that it could never be said he tampered with anything and that Stanton was the final and only depository of this evidence…Baker was dismissed as head of the secret service on February 8, 1866. He claimed that President Andrew Johnson had demanded his removal after he discovered that his agents were spying on him. Baker admitted the charge but argued that he was acting under instructions from the Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton.” I hope President Trump doesn’t think anything new is being done to him, because it’s really the same old game that has gone on for at least 150 plus years.

In early 1867, Baker published a book called History of the Secret Service. In it, among other things, he revealed that a diary had been taken from Booth, which resulted in a Congressional committee looking into Lincoln’s assassination and Stanton was forced to hand over Booth’s diary. “Stanton and the War Department were forced to hand over Booth’s diary. When shown the diary by the committee, Baker claimed that someone had ‘cut out eighteen leaves.’ When Stanton was called before the committee he said he didn’t remove any pages from the diary. Speculation grew that the missing pages included the names of people who had financed the conspiracy against Lincoln. It was later revealed that Booth had received a large amount of money from a New York based firm to which Stanton had connections.”

Lafe Baker died in 1868–18 months after he testified before Congress. There were some suspicious souls that thought he had been killed by the War Department because, after all, dead men tell no more tales. Based on the actions of Stanton, Baker, Conger, and the rest, don’t you wonder where they got that idea? The question emerges, which of these sterling individuals was the biggest liar? You can bet there is a big fight for first place! You can bet on one sure thing here–we the public have not been told one tenth of what really went on here.

Believe it or not, there is still more.

The Northern Plan For A “Reconstructed” South

by Al Benson Jr.
Member, Board of Directors, Confederate Society of America

In his book Why Was Lincoln Murdered?  Otto Eisenschiml has two sections, one entitled Not wanted–Victory in the East and the other bearing the exact same title, only dealing with the West.

What Eisenschiml contends with his work is what has been stated earlier–that the Radical Republicans did not want a quick victory over the South, but rather wanted a long, drawn-out war of attrition. They wanted a situation where North would be brought to hate South and where irate Northerners would be willing to go along with whatever punitive action Washington saw fit to thrust upon the South. Part of their plan was to pit black against white in the South, a situation in which they would control the black vote, and through that vote, control the direction of the South for the forseeable future. They had a plan to restructure a defeated South and to make it over into an image of their liking. Their efforts succeeded in doing at least one thing promoting the concept of class struggle in the South–black against white. Their tactics were Marxist, and so was the form of “reconstruction” (Marx’s term) they put in place after the war’s end.

In order for them to accomplish all this, McClellan had to be made to appear to be a bumbling failure, and even in our day, this is how most of our “history” books portray him. Yet, when Robert E. Lee, one of the noblest and ablest soldiers in our history, was asked his opinion of who was the ablest Northern general, he replied without hesitation “McClellan, by all odds.” Eisenschiml pointed out that a record of McClellan’s deficiencies is not found in a correct history of his military career, ‘but in the press and in the dispatches of the War Dept.” And you already know who controlled that.

When Ambrose E. Burnside was appointed to replace McClellan in command, he pleaded that he had not the necessary ability to command that many men. He proved that at Fredericksburg shortly after. At least, to Burnside’s credit, he recognized his limitations, but he was appointed anyway. His successor, “Fighting Joe” Hooker, was not quite that humble, but he was no better a general. It almost seems that the North continued to appoint one third string general after another until the War approached a certain point, at which time, Grant was thrust upon the scene.

According to Eisenschiml: “The one man in the North who emerged victorious from all these developments was Stanton. Lincoln’s proclamation of emancipation had been issued on Sept. 22, 1862, and had gone into effect on New Year’s Day, 1863. Stanton’s hope that the war could be prolonged until slavery had been abolished and until the North and South were bitterly estranged was on the way to fulfillment.”
The only problem, then, was how Lincoln viewed “reconstruction.” And socialistic though his orientation was, he did not view it in the same light that the Radical Republicans did. For him it was a question of who would control all the patronage involved. He wanted control of that, but so did the Radical Republicans, and they could not both control it. It had to be one or the other. Hence, for all his Marxist proclivities, Lincoln was an impediment to them and their plans for the South.

And so the obvious solution was that Lincoln had to go. In light of this, I noted some quotes in a book originally published back in 1890 by R. H. Woodward and Co. called Why The Solid South?  This was republished in 1969 by Negro Universities Press, a division of Greenwood Publishing Corp. in New York. At the bottom of page 3 in the 1969 edition there is a quote that seems important to our situation here.

It states: “When this message of December, 1863 went in, many of the Republican leaders were claiming for Congress exclusive jurisdiction over the question of reconstruction under the clause of the Constitution which declares that ‘The United States shall guarantee to every state a republican form of government.’ The counter-claim by the President, that he could aid the people to set up governments for themselves, seemed a challenge.”

Congress narrowly passed a bill in July, 1864 that did this “for certain states.” This bill didn’t give the Radicals everything they wanted because it didn’t give the vote to blacks. But it asserted the “jurisdiction of Congress and provided expressly the President should recognize by proclamation the state governments established under it, ‘only after obtaining the consent of Congress’.” Lincoln refused to do such and he deep-sixed the bill with a pocket veto! Lincoln later explained why he did this, but the Radical, Ben Wade, protested. The protest said: “The President, by preventing this bill from becoming a law, holds the electoral votes of the rebel states at the dictation of his personal ambition…” So there was a fuss in Congress over Lincoln’s veto (and who would exercise power over the Confederate States when they were dragged back into the Union).

And then, on page 5, came an interesting revelation. It said: “Congress, during the session that ended 1864-65, either did not care or did not dare to insist on any reassertion of its right to reconstruct. On the contrary, seeing, as it undoubtedly did, that the Confederacy was about to collapse, it adjourned on the 4th of March, leaving Mr. Lincoln an open field for his policy of restoration. Every member of that Congress knew what the policy was.”

As I read that, years ago now, I wondered, why the sudden lack of resistance by Congress to something they wanted so badly to have control over? They had fought Lincoln tooth and nail on this issue and now they were just walking off the field and letting him do it his way. Why??? Did the movers and shakers in Congress know something the history books have never dealt with–that they were not going to have to deal with Mr. Lincoln on this issue because he wasn’t going to be there that long?

I have long wondered about that and never gotten an answer, but it is an interesting question. And no, I am not accusing every member of Congress who voted for this as being part of the assassination of Lincoln. But the Radical Republican types, both in Congress and in other places in government, had an amazing amount of influence over what happened in Washington. They were the Deep State of their day.

More to come yet.

More About Stanton The Radical

by Al Benson Jr.
Member, Board of Directors, Confederate Society of America

It would seem, from his commentary about others, that Stanton had an inflated concept of his own abilities. He was definitely not a practitioner of the Christian virtue of having a meek and humble spirit (James 4:6). He often spoke abusively of Lincoln and others in the administration. He referred to Lincoln as “the original gorilla. After becoming Secretary of War his disposition toward Lincoln did not improve. At one point he said to Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt, Well, all I have to say is, we’ve got to get rid of that baboon at the White House!

W. C. Prime, who did a biographical sketch of General McClellan that was in McClellan’s book, said that the abolition of slavery was really a war measure. McClellan’s success in 1862 would have been disastrous to the plans of Radical Republicans, Shoud the Union have been restored at that point, the plans of the radicals would have come to naught. Therefore, McClellan could not be allowed to succeed.

Prime’s assessment of Stanton was interesting. He said: “Mr. Stanton was a lawyer of moderate abilities, a man of peculiar mental constitution. Without moral principle or sense of personal honor, he was equally ready to change front in public politics and to betray private friendship, and was therefore eminently suited to the purposes for which he was selected by the men with whom he had formed a secret alliance…Those who knew him were in the habit of describing him as one of those who ‘always kick down the ladder by which they have climbed.’ His ambition was unbounded and his self-reliance absolute.”

Part of Stanton’s problem with McClellan may well have been McClellan’s view of government, which was probably built on McClellan’s Christian faith. According to McClellan: “The only safe policy is that the general government be strictly confined to the general powers and duties vested in it by the old constitution, while the individual states preserve all the sovereign rights and powers retained by them when the constitutional compact was formed.” Such a view was hardly entertained by the denizens of the Lincoln administration and may well explain why McClellan had to go not too far down the road.

Needless to say, this viewpoint was anathema to someone like Stanton. According to the book The Lincoln Conspiracy  by David Balsiger and Charles E. Sellier Jr., Stanton, as Secretary of War, controlled the nation’s military news through nationalization of the telegraph wires. He controlled the transportation system. His control over the lives of private citizens was said to be almost complete. Even President Lincoln was denied the right to see telegrams that came to the War Department.

According to The Lincoln Conspiracy  the United States was perilously close to dictatorship in 1864. The authors noted: “All the elements were in motion: transportation and communication were nationalized, the writ of habeas corpus suspended, military tribunals had replaced civilian trials. Thousands of people were jailed without charge and held without trial. Dictatorship was an evil lurking behind the scenes. The name of the would-be dictator was not discernable to the public.”

Some have claimed the President Lincoln was a would-be dictator. Clinton Rossiter wrote a book, Presidential Dictatorship, in which he pointed to Lincoln as the one that fulfilled such a role. While no one can argue that Lincoln usurped power while he was president, it might seem more appropriate to assign the role of true dictator to the one who was in a position to deny Lincoln access to information that came into the War Department. That man was Edwin Stanton.

Lafayette Baker, (another sterling individual that was no saint), head of the Secret Service (police), said in his cipher-coded manuscript: “I admit my hatred and contempt for Edwin M. Stanton, but I also swear that what I am saying is true. Stanton felt Lincoln, Johnson, and Seward would have to be executed. He told me it would be done quite legally, and in the proper manner for such officials.” Baker was a notorious liar, so whether Stanton actually said this to him or not may be up for grabs. However, you must admit that it does seem to be in keeping with Stanton’s mentality.

When General McClellan pointed out his opinion that emancipation should be accomplished gradually, and that blacks should be prepared for it via education, recognition of the rights of family, marriage, etc., he ran afoul of the Radical Republicans who had another agenda. When McClellan pointed some of this out to Senator Charles Sumner, the Massachusetts radical, Sumner replied that such points did not concern him, and that all that must be left to take care of itself. In other words, let’s just go ahead and do this, kick the can down the road, and let someone else worry about all the nasty details.

Sumner’s attitude was strongly akin to that of the Leftist radicals in the 1960s, who felt that it was perfectly okay to tear society down with no clear picture of what to replace it with. Needless to say, those that financed the Leftist radicals and orchestrated their efforts, definitely had an idea of what to replace society with, and they are still working on that. From what I have seen of their efforts so far, I am not impressed.

Unlike our latter-day radicals, though, Sumner, Stanton, Thaddeus Stevens, and their Radical associates did have something in store for a defeated South, almost a kind of reverse slavery as it were, with uneducated blacks being given the immediate vote and white man having all rights taken away from them. This was a situation guaranteed to produce racial animosity. That was the name of the game in the South.

There were theological changes in the wind, too, but these were not as readily discernable yet. That would take another five years or so.

More to come, so hang in there.

Portrait Of A Radical

by Al Benson Jr.
Member, Board of Directors, Confederate Society of America

As noted in the previous article, Edwin Stanton had been exposed to Radical Abolitionist rhetoric by one person or another since his early, formative years.
Otto Scott, in his book The Secret Six: The Fool As Martyr  which was about terrorist John Brown, Scott took note of the effect that Unitarian Abolitionist Theodore Weld had, not only on Stanton, but also on other lawyers, notably Joshua R. Giddings and Ben Wade, who ended up being a radical among radicals.

During the War of Northern Aggression, Stanton and other administration radicals were perfectly willing to prolong the killing and misery on both sides. They were even willing to manipulate the people of the North into such a mindset that they saw no possible solution to the war except the Radical Abolitionist solution. Stanton and his radical cohorts worked to convince the people in the North that the war could not be won or concluded until the goals of abolitionism had been attained.

In 1861, Mr. Simon Cameron was removed from the War Department, supposedly for corruption. As I don’t know a lot about Cameron, this could well be the case. It is interesting that a committee of “New York bankers” had urged Secretary Chase to remove Cameron. Did these men, for reasons known only to themselves, want Edwin Stanton in his place? Whatever went on behind closed doors in smoke-filled rooms, Cameron soon resigned and Stanton was appointed Secretary of War in his place.

According to General George McClellan, his relations with Stanton before he became Secretary of War were cordial. After his appointment, Stanton’s attitude toward McClellan began to undergo a change. McClellan felt that Stanton put obstacles in his way and did all he could to create distrust between McClellan and Lincoln. As McClellan went along, it seems clear to him that Stanton was allied with the radical elements in Lincoln’s administration and that they were not willing to see McClellan succeed in his campaign, lest his success shorten the war and the radical’s goals for the destruction of the South not be brought to fruition.

In his autobiography, McClellan’s Own Story  published in 1887, McClellan gives us a picture of Stanton, as Lincoln’s Secretary of War, that is consistent with Stanton’s early views on abolitionism.

On pages 150-151, McClellan made a statement that may shock thinking Americans, particularly Southerners. He stated: “In regard to their statement of the purpose of their visit, Mr. Stanton stated that the great end and aim of the war was to abolish slavery. To end the war before the nation was ready for that would be a failure. The war must be prolonged and conducted so as to achieve that. That the people of the North were not ready to accept that view, and that it would not answer to permit me to succeed until the people had been worked up to the proper pitch on that question. That the war would not be finished until that result was reached, and that, therefore, it was not their policy to strengthen Gen. McClellan so as to insure his success. I have heard, from the best authority, many instances in which the same views were expressed by other prominent radical leaders.” This was hardly Lincoln’s view. He has been quoted as saying that his man concern was the restoration of the Union and he didn’t care all that much about the slavery issue. It would seem that Mr. Lincoln, and Mr. Stanton who supposedly worked for him, had opposing viewpoints on the slavery question.

It was McClellan’s view that, had his Peninsula Campaign in 1862 been successful, the war might have been terminated without the immediate abolition of slavery. So, to gain their ends with Lincoln, the radical element played upon his concerns for the safety of Washington, which involved leaving lots of troops in the area of the capitol for defensive purposes.

McClellan said: “I believe the leaders of the radical branch of the Republican Party preferred political control in one section of a divided country to being in the minority in a restored Union.”

And McClellan continued: “Not only did these people desire the aboliton of slavery, but its abolition in such a manner and under such circumstances that the slaves would at once be endowed with the electoral franchise, while the intelligent White man of the South should be deprived of it, and permanent control thus be assured through the votes of the ignorant slaves, composing so large a portion of the population of the seceded states.”

This was consistent with the Radical view of “reconstruction.” So it would seem, from McClellan’s informed opinion, that the Radical Republicans only wanted the slaves freed so they could manipulate them politically and thus remain in control. So much for Republican altruism regarding the slaves! The slaves were nothing more than a means to an end for them and all their howling about their concern for the emancipation of the slaves was so much bunk!

There was a time when I would have considered these men plain old hypocrites. I’ve gotten past that. I realize now that these men were the cultural Marxists of their day. Otto Eisenschiml, in his book Why Was Lincoln Murdered?  of which I will say more later, described these Radicals as the Left wing of the Republican Party.

Stay tuned, there is more to come.