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Richard R. Montgomery
12-04-2017, 09:22 PM
Post: #1
Richard R. Montgomery
Has anyone researched this guy? Did he live in Philadelphia?
I believe that he was said to be a Double Agent. If so, who accused him of the Perjury? I think his comments in Court were concerned with the participation of the Confederate Government in the Assassination Plots. What can you tell us about this mess?

I believe that he actually carried Confederate mail to Canada, but would stop off in the North to let the Feds read the "news". Being called a "Double Agent" is stretching the facts. He may have been an energetic "Mail Man" for the South, but he wasn't a trustworthy Agent.
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12-05-2017, 08:21 AM
Post: #2
RE: Richard R. Montgomery
John, I found Montgomery mentioned in an article in the Maryland Historical Magazine (Spring 2004) entitled "The Trials of John H. Surratt." The author is Joseph George, Jr. (Montgomery mentions Lewis Powell being seen in Canada. I checked Betty O's biography, and she mentions this trip but does not seem 100% convinced of it.)

"Perhaps Judge Holt's most significant contribution to the prosecution was his assigning Major Richard R. Montgomery of his staff to assist the government. Although other members of Holt's Bureau of Military Justice assisted the prosecution during the trial, Montgomery was the one most deeply connected with the government's attorneys. He was apparently in his late twenties in 1867. A former resident of New York, he had served briefly in the war as an officer and spy on the staff of General Irvin McDowell, but information concerning him is sketchy. When Montgomery left the army, after a few months of undercover work, McDowell rated his services as "by no means of the character and value he thinks and represents them to be." The War Department also found "evidence of bad faith" in Montgomery's claim for extra compensation. 41 Montgomery had obtained a commission in a New York regiment "but was deprived of it for fraud." After his stint in the army, Montgomery ran afoul of civil authorities "on a charge of seduction and robbery." 42 In 1864, Montgomery was an agent, or spy, for the War Department. He managed to win the confidence of the Confederates who used him to convey messages between Richmond and their agents in Canada. In this work he first stopped in Washington, before delivering Confederate dispatches to or from Canada, so the War Department could read these reports. 43

When the government brought the eight defendants in the Lincoln assassination to trial by military commission in 1865, Montgomery was one of the first witnesses for the prosecution. Testifying in secret, he claimed that Jacob Thompson, chief Confederate agent in Canada, had told him in 1864 that at any time he could have the tyrant Lincoln as well as other leaders in Washington "put out of the way." When, according to Montgomery, he repeated Thompson's boast to C. C. Clay Jr., another prominent Confederate agent in Canada, Clay replied, "We are all devoted to our cause and ready to go to any lengths—to do anything under the sun to serve our cause." Montgomery testified that by January 1865 the wish to do away with Lincoln had become stronger. Thompson allegedly told him that he had received a proposition "to rid the world of Lincoln, Stanton, Grant, and others." Thompson supposedly liked the plan but decided to wait until he received approval from Richmond before acting. Montgomery also testified that he had seen Seward's assailant, Lewis Paine (Powell), in Canada during the summer of 1864, engaged in confidential interviews with Thompson and Clay. Thompson's private secretary allegedly told Montgomery that Booth had visited Thompson once in the summer of 1864 and twice during the following winter. 44 No evidence was introduced at the trial to show that Montgomery had ever informed Washington of his conversations with Thompson and/or Clay.

Three weeks into that trial, Montgomery's testimony was made public. Confederates in Canada denounced it as perjury. One published a pamphlet noting that the astounding conversations between Thompson and Montgomery in January 1865 in Montreal could not have occurred because Thompson was three hundred miles away in Toronto. Similarly, Montgomery's supposed conversation with Thompson's private secretary a few days after the assassination could not have taken place. The secretary's travels during that period were widely published, especially in the northern press, placing him nowhere near Montgomery at that time.45 As to his assertion that Thompson was waiting for approval from Richmond before ordering Lincoln's assassination, a Republican newspaper wondered why there was no record that Montgomery had ever warned Washington authorities of this threat.

The War Department was satisfied with Montgomery's performance nevertheless and appointed him a major in the army in May 1866, assigned to Holt's Bureau of Military Justice.46 His role at Surratt's trial was to seek and examine witnesses for the prosecution.

Montgomery traveled to Elmira to obtain witnesses who would swear that Surratt left that city in time to arrive in Washington on April 14, 1865. Martin Drohan, for example, operated the ferry across the Susquehanna River for connecting train service between Elmira and Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He testified that a man urgently approached him on April 13,1865, asking to be ferried across the river in order to catch a train headed south. So eager was he to reach the Williamsport side of the river that he paid Drohan one dollar instead of the usual fifty cents. Drohan then identified Surratt as the man in such great haste to use his ferry. In cross examination Bradley asked him who had brought him to Washington. Drohan did not know his name but looked across the courtroom. "Yes," he said, "that is the gentleman," pointing to Montgomery. Angrily, Bradley then said: "You may go; get down from that stand; I don't want anything more of you."47


41. Richard Montgomery, Secret Service Fund, pd. November 13, 1862, Entry no. 95, Secret Service Accounts, November 1862-June 1863, Provost Marshal General's bureau, RG no. no, National Archives.

42. New York Daily News, June 14, 1865, p. 5.

43. Charles A. Dana, Recollections of the Civil War; With the Leaders at Washington and in the Field in the Sixties (New York, 1898), 238-46.

44. Pitman, Assassassination of President Lincoln, 24-26.

45. Stuart Robinson, The Infamous Perjuries of the "Bureau of Military Justice" Exposed. Letter of Rev. Stuart Robinson to Hon. Mr. Emmons (Toronto, 1865), 2-4.

46. [Philadelphia] Public Ledger, June 6,1865, p. 2; Holt to J. C, Kelton, May 3,1866, M 419 CB1064, roll no. 279, Letters Received by the Commission Branch of the Adjutant General's Office, 1863-1870, Micro no. 1064, National Archives.

47. Surratt Trial, 2:924-25.
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12-05-2017, 11:34 PM
Post: #3
RE: Richard R. Montgomery
(12-05-2017 08:21 AM)RJNorton Wrote:  John, I found Montgomery mentioned in an article in the Maryland Historical Magazine (Spring 2004) entitled "The Trials of John H. Surratt." The author is Joseph George, Jr. (Montgomery mentions Lewis Powell being seen in Canada. I checked Betty O's biography, and she mentions this trip but does not seem 100% convinced of it.)

"Perhaps Judge Holt's most significant contribution to the prosecution was his assigning Major Richard R. Montgomery of his staff to assist the government. Although other members of Holt's Bureau of Military Justice assisted the prosecution during the trial, Montgomery was the one most deeply connected with the government's attorneys. He was apparently in his late twenties in 1867. A former resident of New York, he had served briefly in the war as an officer and spy on the staff of General Irvin McDowell, but information concerning him is sketchy. When Montgomery left the army, after a few months of undercover work, McDowell rated his services as "by no means of the character and value he thinks and represents them to be." The War Department also found "evidence of bad faith" in Montgomery's claim for extra compensation. 41 Montgomery had obtained a commission in a New York regiment "but was deprived of it for fraud." After his stint in the army, Montgomery ran afoul of civil authorities "on a charge of seduction and robbery." 42 In 1864, Montgomery was an agent, or spy, for the War Department. He managed to win the confidence of the Confederates who used him to convey messages between Richmond and their agents in Canada. In this work he first stopped in Washington, before delivering Confederate dispatches to or from Canada, so the War Department could read these reports. 43

When the government brought the eight defendants in the Lincoln assassination to trial by military commission in 1865, Montgomery was one of the first witnesses for the prosecution. Testifying in secret, he claimed that Jacob Thompson, chief Confederate agent in Canada, had told him in 1864 that at any time he could have the tyrant Lincoln as well as other leaders in Washington "put out of the way." When, according to Montgomery, he repeated Thompson's boast to C. C. Clay Jr., another prominent Confederate agent in Canada, Clay replied, "We are all devoted to our cause and ready to go to any lengths—to do anything under the sun to serve our cause." Montgomery testified that by January 1865 the wish to do away with Lincoln had become stronger. Thompson allegedly told him that he had received a proposition "to rid the world of Lincoln, Stanton, Grant, and others." Thompson supposedly liked the plan but decided to wait until he received approval from Richmond before acting. Montgomery also testified that he had seen Seward's assailant, Lewis Paine (Powell), in Canada during the summer of 1864, engaged in confidential interviews with Thompson and Clay. Thompson's private secretary allegedly told Montgomery that Booth had visited Thompson once in the summer of 1864 and twice during the following winter. 44 No evidence was introduced at the trial to show that Montgomery had ever informed Washington of his conversations with Thompson and/or Clay.

Three weeks into that trial, Montgomery's testimony was made public. Confederates in Canada denounced it as perjury. One published a pamphlet noting that the astounding conversations between Thompson and Montgomery in January 1865 in Montreal could not have occurred because Thompson was three hundred miles away in Toronto. Similarly, Montgomery's supposed conversation with Thompson's private secretary a few days after the assassination could not have taken place. The secretary's travels during that period were widely published, especially in the northern press, placing him nowhere near Montgomery at that time.45 As to his assertion that Thompson was waiting for approval from Richmond before ordering Lincoln's assassination, a Republican newspaper wondered why there was no record that Montgomery had ever warned Washington authorities of this threat.

The War Department was satisfied with Montgomery's performance nevertheless and appointed him a major in the army in May 1866, assigned to Holt's Bureau of Military Justice.46 His role at Surratt's trial was to seek and examine witnesses for the prosecution.

Montgomery traveled to Elmira to obtain witnesses who would swear that Surratt left that city in time to arrive in Washington on April 14, 1865. Martin Drohan, for example, operated the ferry across the Susquehanna River for connecting train service between Elmira and Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He testified that a man urgently approached him on April 13,1865, asking to be ferried across the river in order to catch a train headed south. So eager was he to reach the Williamsport side of the river that he paid Drohan one dollar instead of the usual fifty cents. Drohan then identified Surratt as the man in such great haste to use his ferry. In cross examination Bradley asked him who had brought him to Washington. Drohan did not know his name but looked across the courtroom. "Yes," he said, "that is the gentleman," pointing to Montgomery. Angrily, Bradley then said: "You may go; get down from that stand; I don't want anything more of you."47


41. Richard Montgomery, Secret Service Fund, pd. November 13, 1862, Entry no. 95, Secret Service Accounts, November 1862-June 1863, Provost Marshal General's bureau, RG no. no, National Archives.

42. New York Daily News, June 14, 1865, p. 5.

43. Charles A. Dana, Recollections of the Civil War; With the Leaders at Washington and in the Field in the Sixties (New York, 1898), 238-46.

44. Pitman, Assassassination of President Lincoln, 24-26.

45. Stuart Robinson, The Infamous Perjuries of the "Bureau of Military Justice" Exposed. Letter of Rev. Stuart Robinson to Hon. Mr. Emmons (Toronto, 1865), 2-4.

46. [Philadelphia] Public Ledger, June 6,1865, p. 2; Holt to J. C, Kelton, May 3,1866, M 419 CB1064, roll no. 279, Letters Received by the Commission Branch of the Adjutant General's Office, 1863-1870, Micro no. 1064, National Archives.

47. Surratt Trial, 2:924-25.


John and Roger:

Montgomery appears to have been a slippery fellow. It is likely that in the murky world of espionage, he worked for both sides, depending upon who was paying him or paying him more. This was said to be a common practice during the war. Eisenschiml alleges, without citing authority, that Montgomery did this. Your findings about him (McDowell's low opinion of him, accusations of bad faith, fraud, seduction and robbery, etc.) are consistent with this. You have covered his testimony at the trial of the conspirators quite well, so I will no add to it. I will say, however, that in my judgment he was part of George Sanders's scheme to cause the case against Davis, Sanders, Thompson, Cleary, Clay, Harper, Young "and others unknown" to collapse, which it did. All of these gentlemen were named in the charge and specification as co-conspirators. Montgomery was joined in this effort by Charles Dunham (alias Sanford or Sandford Conover and surely one of the strangest characters in history) and James B. Merritt. It follows, therefore, that regardless of their loyalties prior to and after the trial, assuming they had any, these three men were, in the trial, doing the Confederacy's work. They engineered the great springing, i.e. shifting the blame for the great crime onto one who could no longer be punished for it, by deliberately planting perjury, mixing it with enough truth to give their testimony credibility. The perjury was of a species easily exposed as such, which it was, and which thereby caused the case against the Confederate leaders to evaporate. It was a brilliant ploy, and one we should not be surprised to have come from a brain as devious and single-minded as Sanders's, he who advocated assassination as an instrument of national policy. Some will recall the identical ploy used successfully in Agatha Christie's play, later a movie, Witness for the Prosecution. We come to this conclusion because the underlying rationale for legitimate perjury, i.e. perjury whose true purpose was to implicate Davis, not to free him, is absurd (imprisonment of Dunham by Davis in Castle Thunder for six months and an insult by Davis of Dunham's wife). At least two who saw through the flimflam were William A. Tidwell and H. Donald Winkler. The latter summed it up neatly by saying that "For his (Davis's) freedom, he owed a tremendous thank you to the covert operations of George N. Sanders and Charles Dunham." The matter is covered with some particularity in my book on pages 357 through 363.

John
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12-06-2017, 01:32 AM
Post: #4
RE: Richard R. Montgomery
Thanks guys. I could not have found all that info -in a month of research.

Now, I need to study your work, to see how it fits in "the story". It appears, Montgomery would say, or do anything - for a price.

Thanks, again!
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Today, 02:13 AM
Post: #5
RE: Richard R. Montgomery
I found a rare Web site on my Computer, that may interest you. It's called the "U.S. Register of Civil, Military & Naval Service 1863 - 1959". It lists every government employee hired during that time frame. It lists the name of every man that served on a particular ship. It lists every ship etc. etc. It lists every Post Master, every Judge. Every anybodies,
Of interest to me, I found the spy Richard Montgomery, working for the War Department, in Washington, born New York, Hired from New York, for $1200 a year. It does not identify him as a spy, but I knew that before I looked for him.
Edwin Stanton made $8000 a year.
What a weird site! (852 pages of fine print.) Every State, Every County, every city.
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