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Robert Arnold's Book The Conspiracy Between John Wilkes Booth and the Union Army
10-28-2018, 01:41 PM (This post was last modified: 10-28-2018 01:46 PM by Steve.)
Post: #27
RE: Robert Arnold's Book The Conspiracy Between John Wilkes Booth and the Union Army
(10-28-2018 05:52 AM)mikegriffith1 Wrote:  
(10-27-2018 12:35 AM)Steve Wrote:  Here's a link to the page of Dr. Arnold's book specifically about the type of weapon/bullet used:

On the page just prior to where the link opens, Arnold cites Leonard Guttridge's Jan. 1993 Navy Medicine article as his source for this information, here's a link to that article:

The "rifle bullet" description Mike is referring to comes from the catalogue reference written for Booth's vertebrae for the Army Medical Museum in 1866. (Guttridge p. 23) That's a year after the assassination and the conspirator's trial! If Surgeon General Barnes believed the wound was made by a carbine and not Corbett's pistol, he sure didn't give any indication of that.

Yes, he did. He originally described it as a carbine bullet. Furthermore, the original card attached to the spine specimen quoted his original description, but the card, too, was later changed to indicate a pistol ball instead of a carbine bullet.

Quote:The actual wording used for the catalogue was "a conoidal carbine bullet entered the right side". Which was later corrected to "a conoidal pistol ball entered the right side". Nothing about this chronology suggests anything other than an error in wording for the description of a museum piece that was later corrected.

So you are assuming that this was just "an error in wording"?! And you guys talk about other theories requiring "suppositions" and "assumptions"! The chronology suggests that there was an effort to try to make the evidence fit the story that Corbett fired the shot. Before anyone realized that the bullet needed to be a pistol bullet, the bullet was described, twice, as a rifle bullet.

I notice you said nothing about the forensic evidence that the bullet was a rifle bullet and not a pistol bullet. High-velocity and low-velocity bullets do different kinds and degrees of damage, governed as they are by the laws of physics. The damage to the spine clearly indicates that the bullet was a rifle bullet and not the kind of bullet that Corbett claimed he fired. You might read Dr. Arnold's analysis on this in his book, pp. 264-265.

I am perfectly willing to believe that the man in the barn perhaps fell down as he tried to walk and that this is why the bullet transited the body at a substantially downward angle. But, if so, that means that the accounts that we have of what the man was doing when he was shot are false. And, according to Conger, the man dropped his weapon before he headed for the front of the barn, which means that whoever shot the man shot him when he was defenseless, which in turn shows that someone, or some persons, in the search party had no intention of taking the man alive.

But the biggest problem is the forensic evidence that the bullet was not the kind of bullet that Corbett claimed he used, which means that someone else must have shot the man.

If you have any source (primary or secondary that quotes a primary) that indicates Barnes used either of the terms "rifle" or "carbine" before the 1866 catalogue entry, please share. I just looked into the sources you provided yourself for this claim.

Here's the text of Barnes' original report to Stanton on the autopsy:

Surgeon General’s Office
Washington City, D.C.
April 27th, 1865

Hon: E.M. Stanton
Secretary of War


I have the honor to report that in compliance with your orders, assisted by Dr. Woodward, USA, I made at 2 pm this day, a postmortem examination of the body of J. Wilkes Booth, lying on board the Monitor Montauk off the Navy Yard.

The left leg and foot were encased in an appliance of splints and bandages, upon the removal of which, a fracture of the fibula 3 inches above the ankle joint, accompanied by considerable ecchymosis, was discovered.

The cause of death was a gun shot wound in the neck – the ball entering just behind the sterno-cleido muscle – 2-1/2 inches above the clavicle – passing through the bony bridge of fourth and fifth cervical vertebrae – severing the spinal chord and passing out through the body of the sterno-cleido of the right side, 3 inches above the clavicle.

Paralysis of the entire body was immediate, and all the horrors of consciousness of suffering and death must have been present to the assassin during the two hours he lingered.

Very respectfully
Your obt servt.
J. K. Barnes
Surgeon General

Note that he used the term "ball", as in "pistol ball" (I've bolded it in the text above to make it easier to find).

As for Dr. Arnold's claim in his book about his forensic analysis of the Booth vertebrae, I don't have enough knowledge or expertise about the topic to have an informed opinion one way or the other on whether Arnold's analysis is sound or not. I was only responding to your argument that Barnes' original assessment of the wound being caused by a carbine was changed to a pistol to match Corbett's account for nefarious purposes.
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RE: Robert Arnold's Book The Conspiracy Between John Wilkes Booth and the Union Army - Steve - 10-28-2018 01:41 PM

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