by Al Benson Jr.
Member, Board of Directors, Confederate Society of America
In going through all of these articles about the conspiracy to get rid of Lincoln, I should make one thing clear. Anyone who knows me or has followed my writings over the years knows that I am no fan of Abraham Lincoln. So these articles are not, in any way, to make Lincoln look “good” and those who murdered him look “bad.” Undoubtedly, those responsible for Lincoln’s assassination were not very nice people–but then, neither was Lincoln.
The book Donnie Kennedy and I wrote, Lincoln’s Marxists, dealing with Lincoln’s love affair with the political Leftists of his day is still available and will demonstrate where we stand on the sainted Mr. Lincoln.
However, when it is very obvious that anyone’s death is of questionable origin, it should be investigated. And what we have gotten from the Establishment regarding Lincoln’s assassination resembles nothing more than an 1860s version of the Warren Commission Report about the Kennedy assassination.
Otto Eisenschiml has written quite a bit about the Lincoln assassination. In 1937 his book Why Was Lincoln Murdered? came out. In 1942 his book In the Shadow of Lincoln’s Death came out and in 1963 his book O.E. Historian Without an Armchair came out. Eisenschiml has noted that he has felt that Edwin Stanton was implicated in Lincoln’s assassination. He felt that in 1937 and he still felt that way in 1963, although he has had to admit that the evidence is inconclusive.
Nonetheless it would appear the certain circumstances do tend to lend credence to Eisenschiml’s conclusion. Author John Chandler Griffin, who wrote the book Abraham Lincoln’s Execution has argued that John Wilkes Booth was merely a tool in the hands of Andrew Johnson and Edwin Stanton. Griffin contends that Lincoln’s lenient reconstruction policies for the South resulted in a conspiracy by Stanton, Johnson, and high-ranking members of the radicals in Congress to plan his execution. They were motivated by a desire for power, but they also wanted to really stick it to the South because of the War. Griffin also contends that Booth did not die in Garrett’s tobacco barn, but escaped, thanks to his collaboration with Stanton and Johnson. This is the second book I have read about recently that has mentioned Stanton and Johnson teaming up to do in Lincoln. That hadn’t been a possibility I had looked into before, but maybe I should check into it. It would seem that others have.
Eisenschiml noted on page 170 that: “To this array of telling points against him may be added the fact that, as President, Johnson displayed a strange reluctance to remove Stanton from his cabinet, even after the war minister’s double-crossing intrigues against his Chief had become the subject of public wonderment.”
There was even an effort in the House of Representatives to connect Johnson with the crime and a special committee was appointed with the sole purpose of involving him, even to the point of accepting perjured testimony. (Sound familiar?) Ben Butler (the Beast) was the head of the committee, and even he could not establish a connection between Johnson and Booth, perjured testimony or no. Eisenschiml commented on a possible go-between between Stanton, Booth, and Johnson when he said: “Whoever acted as go-between must have met some severe specifications. Aside from having free access to both Stanton and Booth without arousing suspicion or even comments, he would have had to be a man of utmost discretion; he would have had to be unscrupulous, yet not likely to use his knowledge for blackmail. Therefore he should have been guilty of misdeeds known to Stanton. He would have to know that a sword was handing over his own head, but a rich purse in front of him, so long as he obeyed orders.”
Eisenschiml observed one man who came close to meeting these qualifications, and that was Lafayette Baker, “…the head of the Secret Service and one of Stanton’s creatures. Stanton had made him, and could unmake him at will. He could walk in on the Secretary of War at all times, and his many past crimes, moral and otherwise, were well known to the war minister. Baker could summon Booth to his headquarters without fear of adverse gossip, for he had all sorts of unwilling visitors, who were being brought before him for one reason or another, or for no reason at all.”
Eisenschiml went on to state that there was “no factual evidence” that Stanton was involved or that he had any connection with Booth. He called it a conjecture, but then went on to note that this conjecture “has been somewhat strengthened by a recent article by Ray Neff in Civil War Times, who found an alleged confession by Baker in the form of a parable, in which he assumed the role of a spy, while Stanton, thinly disguised as Brutus, murdered Lincoln, who was assigned the part of Caesar.” Unfortunately what Neff found is based on the word of Lafayette Baker, an individual not exactly noted for telling the truth. Eisenschiml observed “Thus Baker’s unsavory character puts a question mark behind the results of Neff’s fine piece of historical research.”
Still more to come where we get into a strange media situation.