The Baltimore Plot: The First Conspiracy to Assassinate Abraham Lincoln

The Baltimore Plot: The First Conspiracy to Assassinate Abraham Lincoln

Michael J. Kline

Language: English

Pages: 536

ISBN: 1594160716

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

"In a thrilling detective story of conspiracy, treachery and assassination, Michael J. Kline suggests how close the Baltimore plotters came to achieving their goal, and reveals how Lincoln and a few guards outwitted them. Meticulously researched and written with verve, "The Baltimore Plot" takes readers aboard Lincoln's inaugural train for a perilous and unforgettable journey." —James L. Swanson, author of the Edgar Award-winning New York Times bestseller Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer

On February 11, 1861, the "Lincoln Special" - Abraham Lincoln's private train—began its journey from Springfield, Illinois, to the City of Washington, carrying the president-elect to his inauguration as the sixteenth president of the United States. Considered a "sectional candidate" by the South, and winning the election without the popular vote, Lincoln was so despised that seven states immediately seceded from the Union. Over the next twelve days, Lincoln would speak at numerous stops, including Indianapolis, Columbus, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Albany, New York, and Philadelphia, expressing his desire to maintain the Union. But as Lincoln made his way east, America's first private detective, Allan Pinkerton, and a separate undercover operation by New York City detectives, uncovered startling evidence of a conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln during his next-to-last stop in Baltimore. Long a site of civil unrest—even Robert E. Lee's father, Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee, was nearly beaten to death in its streets—Baltimore provided the perfect environment for a strike. The largest city of a border state with secessionist sympathies, Baltimore had been infiltrated by paramilitary groups bent on killing Lincoln, the "Black Republican." The death of the president-elect would, it was supposed, throw the nation into chaos and allow the South to establish a new nation and claim Washington as its capital. Warned in time, Lincoln outfoxed the alleged conspirators by slipping through Baltimore undetected, but at a steep price. Ridiculed by the press for "cowardice" and the fact that no conspirators were charged, Lincoln would never hide from the public again. Four years later, when he sat unprotected in the balcony of Ford's Theatre, the string of conspiracies against his life finally succeeded. One of the great presidential mysteries and long a source of fascination among Lincoln scholars, the Baltimore Plot has never been fully investigated until now. In The Baltimore Plot: The First Conspiracy to Assassinate Abraham Lincoln, Michael J. Kline turns his legal expertise to evaluating primary sources in order to discover the extent of the conspiracy and culpability of the many suspects surrounding the case. Full of memorable characters, including Kate Warne, the first female undercover agent, and intriguing plot twists, the story is written as an unfolding criminal proceeding in which the author allows the reader to determine whether there was a true plot to kill Lincoln and if the perpetrators could have been brought to trial.





















delegation from Baltimore was waiting for him in Harrisburg he would feel safe and go on, how the course of history might have been changed if the Baltimore Republicans had left for Harrisburg a few hours earlier. Like the Baltimore Republican Committee, the Northern Central Railroad also had every reason to believe that its line would be taking the president-elect to Washington from Harrisburg. By Friday, Colonel John Sterrett Gittings and James C. Clark, president and superintendent,

between Sixth and Seventh Streets, and the Marshall Theatre, or Richmond, on Broad between Seventh and Eighth. See map of Richmond, Virginia, 1861–1865, in David J. Eicher, Dixie Betrayed: How the South Really Lost the Civil War (New York: Little, Brown, 2006), frontispiece. 25 Kauffman, American Brutus, p. 105. 26 Ibid., p. 112. 27 Clarke, John Wilkes Booth, p. 108; Tidwell, Come Retribution, p. 256. 28 Tidwell, Come Retribution, p. 256. 29 Kauffman, American Brutus, p. 422 n. 32; Clarke,

gathered his composure. “At length he began, in a husky voice, and slowly and impressively delivered his farewell to his neighbors:”30 My friends. No one, not in my situation, can appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting. To this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe everything. Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young to an old man. Here, my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return,

Pope's topographical skills. Another military man on the train, “an excellent officer and a highly cultivated gentleman,” U.S. Army Captain George W. Hazzard had served with General Zachary Taylor's army in Mexico, engaged in almost continual skirmishes with Indians on the Rio Grande after the Mexican War, before serving in Florida and Kansas.71 A West Point honor graduate of the Class of 1847, and member of the Fourth Artillery, Hazzard deemed himself one of the country's foremost authorities

conviction that the responsibility for their woes rests mediately upon the triumph of the Republican Party, but directly upon Mr. Lincoln, for not announcing the programme of his Administration, and so giving peace to the country. Acts of outrage and violence have been counseled and justified. Mob-law has had its advocates, and the South has been taught to expect, that the Winter could not pass without an uprising of the many-headed, and the plunder and destruction of the opulent classes.26

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