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John Surratt
08-01-2013, 12:37 PM
Post: #61
RE: John Surratt
Jerry - Get started by googling Benjamin Franklin Ficklin. Very interesting character, First Family of Virginia claims, probably the one that hired Isaac Surratt for his freight express company, later bought Monticello.
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08-01-2013, 12:50 PM
Post: #62
RE: John Surratt
(07-31-2013 05:31 AM)RJNorton Wrote:  
(07-30-2013 03:40 AM)John Fazio Wrote:  Laurie: I have read Jampoler and I am thus aware of his conclusion re Surratt's whereabouts on 4-14, an opinion shared, incidentally by Mike Kauffman. I am unconvinced. There are many persuasive arguments putting him in Washington, in addition to the material given above. Recall that Ste. Marie testified at Surratt's trial that Surratt told him he left Washington the night of 4-14 or the morning of 4-15 in disguise. I grant that Ste. Marie is not a good witness (his Italian Affidavit is contrary); still, it is another stone on the scale.

John, as you may recall from previous discussions, I am of the belief that John Surratt's whereabouts on April 14 are worthy of discussion. His being in Elmira is not an open and shut case IMO. I realize this is a minority opinion. Personally I agree with you that the arguments Surratt was in Washington that fateful night should not be ignored.

My question regards Mr. Jampoler. You imply he says Surratt was in Elmira. Is that quote in the book somewhere? The reason I ask is because on p. 204 of his book he writes, "Passing 140 years later, the answer to the key question - where Surratt was the night Lincoln was shot - is not more certain than it was in 1867...." To me it seems that Mr. Jampoler is leaving it as an open question. What do you think?


Roger:

Oversight. You are forgiven. The last line of the last page (274) of Jampoler's book reads:

Surratt was in Elmira when Lincoln was assassinated, and the rest of his life flowed from that single fact.

I know that Bill feels he was in Washington. I have not read his book on Surratt (I have read two of his others), but my surmise is that we would use pretty much the same arguments, as follows:

1. 14 witnesses put him in Washington. Can all 14 be wrong? Would prosecutors (Carrington, Pierrepont, Riddle--men of impeccable reputation) knowingly use false testimony?

2. Only 4 witnesses put him in Elmira, only one of whom was unequivocal.

3. Smoot said Mary Surratt told him to come back Friday (4-14) when John and the boys would be there.

4. French Queen said he saw Surratt with Herold on 4-14.

5. Weichmann said the 4-12 letter from Surratt "received" by Mrs. Surratt, placing him in Montreal on 4-12, was a fraud. Mary's "losing" it in a matter of hours was surely a lie.

6. If Booth contacted Surratt on 4-10 telling him their plans had changed and to come to Washington forthwith, why would he stop in Elmira, and dilly-dally there, while the Confederacy was crumbling?

7. Gen. E. Lee testified at Surratt's trial and did NOT say he had ordered Surratt to Elmira.

8. In his July 6 confession, Atzerodt said that Booth told him a few days before the assassination that Surratt was in Washington, that he was at the Herndon House on the night of the 14th and that he, Booth, had just seen him.

9. Surratt told three different versions as to how, when and under what circumstances he learned of Lincoln's assassination: one to McMillan; one in his lecture; and one in his Hanson Hiss interview. In the latter he said he had been in Elmira for several weeks, but much earlier than April, and that Wilder sent him there, not Lee. He said nothing about being in Elmira from 4-12 to 4-15 or about being sent there by Lee or about checking out the prison, etc.

10. It is at least possibile that Surratt was the would-be assassin who was on the train with Grant to New Jersey and who failed to assassinate Grant because he couldn't access his locked private car when he tried to do so at the Havre de Grace station or near there. Atzerodt made reference, to Metz or Richter, to somone who was following Grant on the train. This theory, however, loses some force from the fact that the would-be assassin wrote to Grant, acknowledging his purpose to kill him and thanking the Deity that he had not been successful. That doesn't sound like Surratt.

John
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08-01-2013, 04:09 PM
Post: #63
RE: John Surratt
(08-01-2013 12:37 PM)L Verge Wrote:  Jerry - Get started by googling Benjamin Franklin Ficklin. Very interesting character, First Family of Virginia claims, probably the one that hired Isaac Surratt for his freight express company, later bought Monticello.

Wikipedia says : In 1865, Ficklin was sent on a secret peace mission to Washington, D.C.. While there, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, and Ficklin was arrested. He was cleared of suspicion and released upon his swearing a loyalty oath to the Union.

Do you know anything more about this mission or where I can find more?
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08-01-2013, 07:10 PM
Post: #64
RE: John Surratt
I don't know more details, and I'm not sure Mr. Hall ever pursued the story of Ficklin's being in D.C. I had never heard of the man until I ran across his name. It caught my interest right away because my aunt by marriage had a sister who married into the Ficklin family. By the time I ran across the name, however, everyone in the know had died. My only childhood recollection of meeting the "modern" Mr. Ficklin was that he was a twit! When I said something to my mother, she told me that he was part of the First Families of Virginia and that that accounted for his attitude. I apologize if I am insulting any other FFVs here.

Jerry - contact Sandra at our research center and see if there is a separate file on Ficklin.
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08-02-2013, 02:27 AM (This post was last modified: 08-02-2013 02:41 AM by John Fazio.)
Post: #65
RE: John Surratt
(08-01-2013 12:27 PM)Gene C Wrote:  
(08-01-2013 09:54 AM)Wild Bill Wrote:  Larry Starkey, Wilkes Booth Came to Washington, 120-27, believed otherwise looking at train schedules, too.

I've never read this. Can you and others give me some feedback under the book section please?


Gene:

In pages 120-127, Starkey deals mostly with the escape of Booth and Herold, the crossing of the bridge, the stop at the tavern, etc. He mentions Surratt only briefly, in connection with his exit from the country, via St. Albans, after the assassination. Charles Higham, on the other hand, postulates Surratt's journeying to Washington and arriving in time for the assassination. He describes how he feels Surratt did it on pp. 205-207 of his book, Murdering Mr. Lincoln. I am not convinced of the validity of his description; it appears to me to be tortured. I believe the greater likelihood is that Surratt left Montreal and arrived in Washington much earlier than any of us realizes. Laurie's statement about Hall's research is telling. Hall was the master. If he said Surratt could not have made it from Elmira, by train, in the time frame given, I have to accept that. But if he left much earlier than we suppose, it's a different ball game.

John

(07-31-2013 01:31 PM)HerbS Wrote:  John,How do you explain John Surratt talking about being in Canandaigua,NY and going to Easter Mass there? I have his signature[John Harrison] three days later on the St.Lawrence Hotel ledger- Montreal.[Canadian National Archives].In his trial papers he talks about being in Elmira,NY-Onto-Canandaigua,NY-then he contemplates going to Rochester,NY and taking a boat to Coburg,Canada.But,instead he takes a train from Canandaigua-to Albany,NY and on to Montreal.However,no one can find the hotel ledgers from Elmira or Canandaigua,NY.

Herb:

You, SSlater and the others remind me of something Churchill once said, namely that the three hardest things in the world are trying to climb a wall that is leaning towards you; trying to kiss a girl who is leaning away from you; and trying to speak to people who know more about your subject than you do.

All I can say is that Surratt's being in Washington on 4-14 and leaving by train that night or the following morning (in disguise), is not inconsistent with being in Canandaigua Easter Sunday, 4-16 and in Montreal three days later. I have no doubt that he left the country after the assassination and that he was in Montreal by 4-18 or 4-19, via St. Albans, but I have a very strong doubt that he was in Elmira on 4-14.

John
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08-02-2013, 08:09 AM
Post: #66
RE: John Surratt
John,Thank you very much.-Herb
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08-02-2013, 09:13 AM
Post: #67
RE: John Surratt
I love Starkey's book, but couldn't finish Higham's. However, I do not consider either author a true expert in the field of the Lincoln assassination (sorry if that irritates anyone). I also worked with Mr. Higham while he was working on his book. I ended up transferring him over to Joan Chaconas on my staff because she has much more patience in dealing with people who refuse to accept documentation when it doesn't fit their theory.
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08-02-2013, 01:53 PM (This post was last modified: 08-02-2013 02:03 PM by John Fazio.)
Post: #68
RE: John Surratt
(07-30-2013 08:13 PM)Rhatkinson Wrote:  John,

That was an excellent post. You have raised several fascinating points and I wonder if you would be so kind as to post your thoughts on what you believe to be the true story of the assassination? It would be a great book actually, but I would very much enjoy your synopsis on the issues of what you believe to be the truth concerning Booth's plan, his backing in Richmond, Surratt's location on 4/14, and the prior knowledge of CSA informants on the night that Lincoln was killed.

Thanks,
Heath


Heath:

I got part of the wallpaper up and had a go at the itch, so here's the synopsis you requested. In my opinion:

1. The Civil War, and therefore the assassination and attempted decapitation of the government, can be traced back to 1619, the year the first slaves were brought here. Slavery was the root of all evil, but it had many dimensions, including political, economic, social, cultural and moral ones. Climate, geography and demographics all played into it.
2. Lincoln's life was in danger from the moment he was nominated by his party. He received 10,000 threats against his life from that day through 4-14-65 and many attempts were actually made on his life.
3. Black flag warfare characterized the entire war and even preceded it. After the Wistar and Dahlgren-Kilpartrick Raids, the gloves were completely off and the brass knuckles were completely on. Lincoln was in Confederate crosshairs from March, 1864.
4. Booth and his action team were only one of many teams and individuals in action against Lincoln and his government.
5. Booth and his team were not good people, to put it mildly. The ones who came closest to that description were Sam Arnold and Michael O'Laughlen.They might have led decent lives, but they were weak and always needed money. Mrs. Surratt and Dr. Mudd were religious hypocrites and were both guilty.
6. Kidnapping was an elaborate ruse to conceal the Confederate Government's true purpose, which was multiple assassinations. Neither that government nor Booth and his team ever intended to kidnap anyone.
7. There are great unknowns which deserve exploration in connection with Ford's Theatre, Francis P. Burke, the brace and mortise, the peephole in the Box 7 door, the door locks and Booth's entry to the box, exactly what happened in the box, Booth's descent to the stage and declamations, Booth's broken leg, Booth's exit from the theater and escape and especially John F. Parker, Charles Forbes and Silas T. Cobb. I will say, quickly, that Burke drank with Parker and Forbes in Taltavul's; Booth did the carpentry on 4-14; Booth made a dry run into the presidential box; Booth got past Forbes with an authorization to allow John Wilkes Booth to join the President, signed by Lincoln, a Confederate Secret Service forgery; Parker wasn't where he was supposed to be, most probably because he was next door drinking, but he was not corrupted; Booth was lucky--Rathbone almost had him stopped; Booth did not leap 12 feet directly to the stage from the box; Booth said several things in the box, from the balustrade and as he crossed the stage; Booth broke his leg when he landed awkwardly on the stage; Booth and Herold got past Cobb with a gratuity, though prior arrangement by bribery and/or Mosby men in the wings are distinct possibilities.
8. Spangler was completely innocent.
9. The death of the Presdient is best expressed by Walt Whitman and William Cullen Bryant.
10. Attempts were made on the lives of Lincoln, Johnson, Seward, Stanton and Grant, at the least, with possibilities elsewhere, but insufficient evidence.
11. Powell headed for Baltimore. Atzerodt was to follow Booth and Herold into Maryland, but chickened out and sought safety with relatives. Herold did not accompany Powell to Seward's. Atzerodt did not go to the Kirkwood and go into the bar to bolster his courage. He, and probably Herold, went there to kill Johnson if conditions were favorable. They weren't. Booth probably planned all along to stop at Mudd's. There is some evidence to suggest that Booth's and Herold's ultimate goal may have been Baltimore, but the greater likelihood is that they planned to leave the country by ship (Atzerodt was to have joined them) and seek refuge in a country that had no extradition treaty with the United States, such as Spain.
12. The trial was not a farce. It was, rather, an enormous undertaking at an enormously difficult time under enormously difficult circumstances. The commissioners acquitted themselves quite well and, except in the case of Spangler, justice was served.
13. The Confederate Government and its Secret Service, including the Canadian Cabinet, with the assistance, perhaps, of some Copperheads, conspired to decapitate the Federal Government because kidnapping offered no hope at all for that government, whose fortunes were sinking rapidly, and multiple assassinations offered at least some hope.

John

(08-02-2013 09:13 AM)L Verge Wrote:  I love Starkey's book, but couldn't finish Higham's. However, I do not consider either author a true expert in the field of the Lincoln assassination (sorry if that irritates anyone). I also worked with Mr. Higham while he was working on his book. I ended up transferring him over to Joan Chaconas on my staff because she has much more patience in dealing with people who refuse to accept documentation when it doesn't fit their theory.

Laurie:

I think both men played fast and loose with facts, especially Higham. Some of the things he has in his book are off the wall, such as accepting as credible the testimony of Rhodes and use of the brace to secure, not the door to the passageway, but the Box 7 door!!!!

John
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08-02-2013, 05:51 PM
Post: #69
RE: John Surratt
Thanks, John. Great post. I have always felt that Spangler was the forgotten victim of the assassination. I agree completely with you that he was innocent.

While I agree with you that Herrold was not with Powell at Seward's, why do you think Atzerodt wasn't with Herrold when he crossed the bridge if they were together at the Kirkwood? Why do you believe that the attack on Johnson was unsuccessful? He was clearly in his room. No means to escape?

If Surratt was in DC, what do you think his role was? I assume you don't believe that he backed out of the plot once it turned to assassination if you believe the kidnapping plot was a ruse? If it was a ruse, what do you make of Davey being in TB and being informed by Surratt and Atzerodt of the failure in March? Why would he be there if there was no plot?

What are your thoughts on when Mudd knew Booth had killed Lincoln? I am decidedly in the Dr. Steers camp regarding Mudd; however, Cox, Jr. and others believed that Mudd did not know of the killing until he went to Bryantown. I have always wondered why Booth and Herold would brag about killing Lincoln to a relative stranger like Lloyd, but then keep mum about it to an associate like Mudd. Perhaps the reaction they got from Lloyd made them realize it was best to keep quiet? It has never added up to me.

Who do you believe was Capt. Wood's source that Booth broke his leg at Ford's. I have always guessed it to be Swann, who later recanted due to the danger it caused him to speak up against Cox. It was bad enough that Cox let Booth inside his home, but if Cox knew that Booth broke his leg at Ford's, it would mean that he knew Booth was the assassin when he helped him (which I'm sure was true, but would have sent Cox to the gallows in all probability.)

Heath
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08-03-2013, 05:03 AM
Post: #70
RE: John Surratt
(08-02-2013 05:51 PM)Rhatkinson Wrote:  I have always wondered why Booth and Herold would brag about killing Lincoln to a relative stranger like Lloyd, but then keep mum about it to an associate like Mudd. Perhaps the reaction they got from Lloyd made them realize it was best to keep quiet? It has never added up to me.

Hi Heath. About a month ago Bob Summers posted an interview with Dr. George Mudd that is so fascinating I think it's worth reposting. In the interview George Mudd expresses a very different opinion of whether or not JWB kept mum when he and Herold arrived at the Mudd home.

The article Bob posted is here. Scroll down about half-way to where it says, "Now, Dr. Mudd, what is your explanation of your cousin's behavior at that time?"
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08-03-2013, 09:09 PM
Post: #71
RE: John Surratt
as for "climbing a leaning wall" - I went around it. SIMPLE
as for "kissing a leaning girl" _ never had to face this.
as for "know it all" (including Churchill) - EVERYONE may know more than I do, but they still don't know it all.
For Example: Surratt was stuck in Canandaigua on Easter Sunday, because trains did not run on Sunday in New York State - so he took a train on Monday, then a boat - everyone knows that?
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08-04-2013, 08:30 AM
Post: #72
RE: John Surratt
John,How do you want me to take that Churchill comment? There is no doubt that many people know more than I do.
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08-04-2013, 02:42 PM
Post: #73
RE: John Surratt
(08-04-2013 08:30 AM)HerbS Wrote:  John,How do you want me to take that Churchill comment? There is no doubt that many people know more than I do.

Herb:

Your questions and comments tell me that you know more about this subject than I do, but please be patient, because I am catching up.

John
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08-04-2013, 03:09 PM
Post: #74
RE: John Surratt
John,Thanks for being open and honest!
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08-04-2013, 10:00 PM
Post: #75
RE: John Surratt
(08-04-2013 08:30 AM)HerbS Wrote:  John,How do you want me to take that Churchill comment? There is no doubt that many people know more than I do.

You didn't give the Churchill Comment. My reply was an effort to make light of the comment. Do you believe that "you, SSlater, and others" are difficult to talk to?
I hoped for a laugh. It shows what a poor writer I am.
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