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RE: Killing Lincoln: The Real Story - L Verge - 12-09-2014 07:57 PM

(12-09-2014 05:20 AM)Steven Hager Wrote:  I saw The Conspirator on Netflix in February and was stunned at the manipulations used to convict Mary Surratt, and then immediately hang her. I started researching immediately afterwards, but didn't start writing about the case until late summer. This was so much easier to research than JFK, where almost all documents remain hidden. This case was "snowed over" just like JFK, which means the investigations include a tremendous amount of meaningless details leading nowhere. My concentration was on the military tribunal and the witnesses who lied for profit, and who really orchestrated that event. I guess you know Stanton was a Democrat who switched parties when he got his post in the Cabinet. Charles Dunham was allegedly a Democratic Party dirty tricks specialist, who undoubtedly became Stanton's secret agent because he was the one who paid and groomed the witnesses. When John Surratt was captured and brought back for trial, Dunham visited Surratt in jail and offered him a bribe if he would implicate Jefferson Davis in the plot. Surratt refused and won his court case anyway, despite the manipulations against him.

Amazing! From first introduction via NetFlix to finished publication in less than ten months. I'm sure that others are shaking their heads in disbelief, says this old lady with fifty years of addiction under her belt... As the great James O. Hall would say, "Oh, my."

P.S. Surratt did not win. Please remember that a hung jury and then the absence of another indictment does not constitute winning -- only freedom, if you can call it that with the taint hanging over your head for the rest of your life.

RE: Killing Lincoln: The Real Story - Gene C - 12-09-2014 08:45 PM

(12-09-2014 04:38 PM)Steven Hager Wrote:  He was mentally disturbed, as evidence, his penchant for keeping corpses in his home and dressing them up, not to mention moving the rocking chair Lincoln was assassinated in into his office so he could sit in it.

We've discussed this some before. According to Stanton by Benjamin Thomas, "Stanton allegedly exhumed Lucy's (his infant daughter) body more than a year after she had died and sealed the ashes in a metal box made for the purpose. He was supposed to have kept the box in his own room. This is highly questionable..."

(The source for this is W. S. Buchanan, a student in Stanton's office. His reliability as a witness is not without doubt.)

Thomas also writes, "His grief verged on insanity. Stanton ordered Mary's (his first wife) wedding dress altered and realtered. Moaning and weeping, he cried: "This is my bride and she will be dressed and buried like a bride." At night he would leave his room, tears streaming from his eyes, and taking up a lamp, search the house, crying over and over, "Where is Mary" He stealthily brought to her grave her wedding rings, jewels, and letters."

An excessive display of grief perhaps, but no corpses in his home being dressed up.
Benjamin Thomas is a highly respected historian.

RE: Killing Lincoln: The Real Story - Steven Hager - 12-09-2014 10:56 PM

Stanton kept his wife's corpse in the house and may have even dressed her up for holidays. But there was another young girl who died, and Stanton dug her up because he could not believe she was dead.

Vallindigham was tried and convicted of speaking against the Union, and could have been imprisoned or worse, but instead Lincoln banished him to the South. But within a few weeks, he was known to be traveling through the Northern states in disguise in support of the Southern cause.

Yes, it was just a hung jury for John Surratt, but since his mother swung from the gallows and was just the inn keeper, while her son was the confessed Confederate spy who admitted to a kidnap plot, but not an assassination, I qualify that as "winning." I wonder why ten months seems like too brief a time to write a book, how long do you think Bill O'Reilly worked on his Lincoln book? I guarantee I put more time on mine than he did on his. I've published 11 books and never spent more than a year on one. We can argue about the minute details of the case endlessly, but that really goes in circles and gets nowhere. Charles A. Dunham is the political fixer who worked for Stanton and the Radicals and is suspiciously missing from the official historical narrative. Why was it necessary for Stanton to handle the cross-examination of Louis Weichmann by himself at the tribunal? I find this suspicious as well. Weichmann was one of the War Department informants inside Booth's conspiracy. I suspect Stanton wanted to make sure any questions fielded to Weichmann did not cross into dangerous territory since the War Department knew all about the kidnap plot in advance, and could have arrested Booth at any time, weeks before the assassination, but instead Booth remained on the loose.

You can dispute the allegations Stanton kept corpses around the house on occasion, but you cannot dispute the fact he seized the rocking chair Lincoln was murdered in and had it moved to his office. This seems like the action of a victor seizing a trophy more than someone grieving over a lost comrade in my humble opinion. The impeachment was sparked by Johnson attempting to fire Stanton, at which point Stanton barricaded himself in his office until the trial was over. I do not buy much of what is told about Stanton today, and feel he contributed to creating his own myth, and I don't buy the story of his sudden death. Grant may have known the truth, as he delayed signing Stanton's elevation to the Supreme Court until after his death.

RE: Killing Lincoln: The Real Story - Susan Higginbotham - 12-10-2014 12:04 AM

(12-09-2014 10:56 PM)Steven Hager Wrote:  Why was it necessary for Stanton to handle the cross-examination of Louis Weichmann by himself at the tribunal? I find this suspicious as well.

Where in the trial transcript is it recorded that Stanton examined Weichmann? (He certainly wouldn't have been be cross-examining him--a government witness, such as Weichmann, is cross-examined by the defense, and vice versa). I'm aware that Stanton questioned Weichmann personally before the trial, but that's quite different from questioning him at the military trial itself.

RE: Killing Lincoln: The Real Story - Steven Hager - 12-10-2014 05:18 AM

So far we have a lot of chortling over my years as a cannabis activist, and disbelief that a book can be written in ten months, and fussing over minor statements that don't even appear in my book, but zero discussion of Charles A. Dunham. I confess to reading 25 books, which one made mention of Stanton's sole appearance at the trial I can't recall, but how anyone can accept his official script when almost every single witness he mustered later confessed to have committed perjury is beyond me. And by the way, the only reason those perjuries were revealed was because there was one honest Congressman on the Judicial Committee. A great crime was committed and very little has been done to bring real justice forth. After 150 years, don't you think it's time to take the blinders off?

RE: Killing Lincoln: The Real Story - Steven Hager - 12-10-2014 06:56 AM

Of course there should have been a regular trial, with a jury of peers and the ability to speak in one's defense, and not a kangaroo military tribunal stuffed with fake testimony. And the accused should have been afforded real representation, and given enough time to prepare a proper defense. The trial was a sham. And so is much of the evidence produced to support the official story. Newspapers will be quoted, without realizing Stanton controlled the news and could plant any story he wanted. I surveyed this scene for the first time for a few months and wrote about what I discovered. It's just the beginning really, and because it is print-on-demand, I plan to keep editing and adding and improving the text. If there is anything incorrect, I will remove it and update the file. It's not a definitive account, just a brief, easily digested series of essays concerning some elements of the case. But when you line all the dots up, they point toward a conspiracy nested inside the War Department, a department that knew of Booth's kidnap plan, and undoubtedly had other double agents inside Booth's circle, none of whom were charged or brought to testify. Likewise, no one who aided Booth past Dr. Mudd's was charged, and there were many. Likewise, Corbett was not charged, although it was Conger who shot Booth, and both got reward money for killing the key to unveiling the conspiracy. Much of the crucial evidence in this case disappeared once it crossed Stanton's desk. It's simply time to stop defending Stanton's house of cards built on sand and start analyzing the who, what, when, where. But you won't find that in Bill O'Reilly's book or on the History Channel.

RE: Killing Lincoln: The Real Story - Gene C - 12-10-2014 10:56 AM


Does your book contain footnotes or source notes?

One of the things you will need to overcome on this forum is the precedence of some previous authors that posted here who had somewhat debatable theories they represented as fact. They seemed to lack any prior serious historical credentials, and gave the impression they joined the forum mainly for the purpose of selling their book. Most of them were crack-pots, Rolleyes it appears that when they were writing their book they were either smoking crack or high on pot.

I have a busy day today or I would post more on some of your misleading and inaccurate statements such as
"Stanton kept his wife's corpse in the house and may have even dressed her up for holidays"
Ho, ho, ho!
Do you have a reliable source for this?

Your posts create more questions than they answer.

RE: Killing Lincoln: The Real Story - Steven Hager - 12-10-2014 02:05 PM

The ebook version has some links to important primary documents at the Library of Congress, and the most important texts are cited, but it's not a foot-noted and indexed history paper. Maybe I will do that if I continue working on this project. In the meantime feel free to read the text, and attack any and every detail. I will provide my source, and if I like your information better, I will adjust the book accordingly. But I think it's important to emphasize my running commentary here is off the top of my head and could be riddled with typos and mis-rememberings. So lets please not fuss over statements off the top of my head. The stories of Stanton and corpses are nothing new, which certainly doesn't make them true. However, perspective is everything in investigation. The glass can be half full or half empty. Those who look upon Stanton as a savior hero who loved honest Abe will certainly never penetrate the truth in my view. Congress was intensely corrupt in those days, and probably still is, although in more sophisticated ways now I hope. If the idea is to defend Stanton at all costs, and argue over minute interpretations, some of which approach magic bullet complexities, then this may not be a fruitful conversation for either of us.

I'd love to see a list of such authors and books described. I believe there's an intense amount of disinfo and misinformation being pumped out. One of the more complex hoodwinks in my view was the supposed Military Magazine owned by La Fayette Baker that had a cypher code in the margin stating he was in fear for his life.

I have no doubt Baker owned such a magazine, and that someone had written cypher in the same issue and may have even done so with ink from the period. But it all seems like such an obvious hoodwink to me, and completely absurd really. Baker told pretty much everything he knew, and he was fired because not because of his corruption, but because (like Angelton) he investigated everyone, including his bosses.

My goal is to find competent people to guide me and help craft my book into something that can help spread enlightenment, because an understanding of deep politics is essential to enlightenment these days. You don't have to buy anything. Almost all my evidence is posted on my blog, and I just put up a new one today called Dirty George's Confession that you might find worth tearing apart.

But I'd hope just from the limited discussion we've had, I would think my contribution to this subject would be better than a person high on cannabis or cocaine, although it's much more likely these days to be ritalin, adderall, oxycotin or one of the many ssri's popped like M&M's and probably contributing greatly to the massive rise in psychosis and school shootings.

RE: Killing Lincoln: The Real Story - L Verge - 12-10-2014 02:40 PM

Mr. Hager - my apologies, but your "historical analyses" do not seem to reflect the standards that I am used to in dealing with both professional and highly qualified amateur historians (and I have dealt with quite a few of them over the past forty years as director of Surratt House Museum and having helped to establish the excellent James O. Hall Research Center at the site). The thought that you can make a fair judgment on all the many, diverse elements of the Lincoln assassination story in ten months just puts you in the same category as I place Mr. O'Reilly (no further explanation).

QUOTE: Yes, it was just a hung jury for John Surratt, but since his mother swung from the gallows and was just the inn keeper, while her son was the confessed Confederate spy who admitted to a kidnap plot, but not an assassination, I qualify that as "winning." UNQUOTE.

I would ask if you would like to start a debate on Mary Surratt as "just the inn keeper," but... I hope you have the opportunity to study her and the government's case against her in more detail.

RE: Killing Lincoln: The Real Story - Steven Hager - 12-10-2014 02:49 PM

This will not be a useful debate in my opinion. Any thesis can be built upon this case. There is 5,000 pages of court testimony alone, and 15,000 books. A debate on the guilt of Mary Surratt is of no interest to me. The debate I would have if you want to is this: Were the people who testified at the military tribunal for the prosecution coached, bribed and bullied into their statements? And did many of them later admit to this perjury in front of a Congressional investigation. If the trial was a sham, and it certainly was. Then all evidence used against Mary Surratt is meaningless. In the march of history, you will seldom find a little person assassinating a king. The little person is the pawn, and the conspirators are the barons and earls of the kingdom. This is common sense, and why I believe it far more likely Lincoln was killed by Radical Republicans. On the other hand, I realize you have a paradigm to uphold, and are probably the best versed scholar in the country on Mary Surratt, and despite the divide in our perspective I hope we can some entertaining and illuminating discussions.

When Gene asked me why are you here? The simple answer is the blurb for my just released book was posted here by someone and attracted a few snide comments, so I felt duty bound to introduce myself and invite serious discussion on my research in place of the usual hippie bigotry disguised as humor. And if the barrage is too intense, I won't be around for long.

RE: Killing Lincoln: The Real Story - Steven Hager - 12-10-2014 03:27 PM

My book is a print-on-demand self-published. I'm hoping to reach a small segment of the millions of readers who were duped by Bill O'Reilly's chock-full-o-disinfo account of the assassination. It's fun to read, with big type and lots of pictures and lllos from the period and costs under $10.

I primarily shine a spotlight on Charles A. Dunham alias San(d)ford C(a)onover, the political fixer employed to contain the cover-up and bribe, bully and possibly even assassinate those that got in the way. He was described as a man of cool terpitude for endeavors of evil intent.

What I'd most welcome are details on the spooks inside the Booth conspiracy not discussed at the trial, and who they really worked for. Louis Weichmann was unveiled through War Department documents as an informant, but not until 1938. As Lewis Powell said it just before he swung, "The ain't got the half of us."

Sadly, Powell never comprehended how he'd been made a patsy in a op designed to insure the exploitation of the South.

Major Swindon "What will history say, General?"
General Burgoyne "History will lie as usual."

Well Eva, that was quite a hostile blast, and as I said, I came here because my book info appeared here.

It seems your first point is, you cannot accuse a government official of an evil deed unless you could prove your case in a court of law. This is a high bar considering how easily the court system is weighted toward those with the biggest budgets.

I have been traumatized a few times in my life, but I've never witnessed a savage murder, nor been around its aftermath. That chair would have carried those vibrations and not been a welcome everyday sight to a normal caring person. But then that's just my opinion. Perhaps you know Stanton seized the theater and held a private performance of the play? And arrested 2,000 people, but let all of Booth's conspirators walk free, except the half dozen slated for the roles of patsy? There were a dozen more mentioned by Dirty George in his original confession not to mention the frequent aside about the "New York crowd," which I assume means "Wall Street." Lincoln was a bear of a man and held on to life for hours and hours, but when he finally passed, Stanton made a display of taking a hat and ceremonially placing it upon his own head, as if crowning himself. Meanwhile, soldiers were already racing to Mary Surratt's boarding house because somehow they knew the nest of this conspiracy was centered there.

RE: Killing Lincoln: The Real Story - Eva Elisabeth - 12-10-2014 04:10 PM

I'm sorry it wasn't intended to be a "hostile blast". I just tried to ask for evidence and to express what I felt and thought about lacking of such with regard to the title you chose and the claims you've made so far (and I admit I was upset). By no means I intended hostility though.

Steven, I deleted my post and will refrain from further posting of my opinion on this.

RE: Killing Lincoln: The Real Story - Steven Hager - 12-10-2014 05:07 PM

No need to delete. I wasn't really hurt or anything. I just felt the rush to protect the reputation of Edwin McMasters Stanton is misplaced energy. There was a rumor he was a opium addict at one point, probably because no one had a solid fix his motivations. With Booth its easy to see pretty ladies were his primary weakness. Which is why Kate Thompson (Brown) the veiled lady and aka "that French woman" is so vital to understanding his sudden desire to shoot the president.

RE: Killing Lincoln: The Real Story - Gene C - 12-10-2014 05:56 PM

(12-10-2014 02:49 PM)Steven Hager Wrote:  When Gene asked me why are you here?

Gene didn't ask that.
But Gene does find your comments about Bill O'Reilly (who's book title you seem to be trading off on) and his "chock-full-of-disinfo" to be sadly a close description of your own book and posts here.

"And if the barage is too intense, I won't be around for long"
As long as you continue to avoid answering sincere questions regarding many of your statements, refuse and/are unable to to provide credible sources for these statemnts, make unsubstantiated comments like
"There was a rumor he (Stanton) was a opium addict at one point, probably because no one had a solid fix his motivations. With Booth its easy to see pretty ladies were his
primary weakness. Which is why Kate Thompson (Brown) the veiled lady and aka "that French woman" is so vital to understanding his sudden desire to shoot the president",
your credibility will continue to suffer and the barage will continue to be intense.

By the way, what are your sources for your last comments?

RE: Killing Lincoln: The Real Story - Steven Hager - 12-11-2014 08:57 AM

I am not avoiding anything. My primary sources are Otto E. and Theodore Roscoe, whose books I am sure you are familiar with. For my primary character in the plot: Charles Dunham, I gave you the author and title already. If its a dispute over minute matters and coments off the top of my head you want to pursue, this will be a tiresome conversation for both of us. You are the long-time scholar on this issue, while I just a neophyte, so please instead of nit-picking your way into a flame war, perhaps you can shed some light on these people:

Kate Brown (Thompson)
James Donaldson
Charles Yates
Thomas Harbin

All were mentioned by George Atzertodt's initial confession that was strangely not entered as evidence in the military tribunal that would be declared illegal in 17 months time.

Perhaps you can direct me to a previous thread on this site. Instead of engaging in useless hostilities perhaps we can be of use or at least entertainment. I do have one question for you, were you aware of Charles Dunham before I landed here, or is all this completely new to you?

As for the differences between O'Reilly and me, they could not be more fundamental and stark.

He thinks Booth was insane. I think Booth was a capable, intelligent spook, who was offered an opportunity and a paycheck to commit the crime, and this pitch could have been made by any number of people Booth believed to be Southern patriots like himself.

Because O'Reilly's book does not cover the trial, and ends with Booth's murder, it does not delve into the fabrications that were produced for that sham trial. O'Reilly pretends to know what is in Booth's mind and trace his steps on the fateful day, but excludes his afternoon meeting with Simon Wolf and other key events.

Only by examining the cover-up created during the military tribunal can you penetrate the cabal, a cover-up handled in large part by Charles Dunham posing as Sanford Conover.

You really want a source for the comment "Some wondered if Stanton was an opium addict?"

I guess you don't realize how common opium addiction was during the Civil War, or how frequently that charge appeared in political feuds. Note, I didn't say he was an addict, I said some wondered, and enough wondered that a historian addressed this issue and dismissed it. Is this issue the line in the sand you draw to show my incompetence, because it seems to me the most nit-picky of attacks.

But rather than go through my books and look up which author considered this possibility and dismissed it because he lacked the "watery eyes" of most addicts, consider that after attempts to pin the assassination on Johnson failed, and Johnson attempted to remove Stanton: Stevens, Wade and Sumner went to incredible lengths to remove Johnson in order to keep Stanton in place. These three seem joined at the hip in many endeavors, along with Salmon Chase.

"Take a look at what they called President Johnson in editorials and speeches in the House and Senate: Caligula, drunkard, monster, demented, opium addict, assassin of President Lincoln and ''tyrannical imbecile.'' His popular nickname, ''The Great Criminal,'' makes ''Slick Willie'' sound almost affectionate.

The conspiracy of abolitionists and radical Republicans who tried to evict President Johnson was no paranoid fantasy. They threatened his friends, trampled the Constitution, cooked up lies, offered bribes and opined that the bullet that killed Abraham Lincoln was ''a godsend,'' except that it replaced a ''gorilla'' with a ''traitor.''"

source: Peter Bronson, Cincinnati Enquirer, Feb. 15, 1998