John Wilkes Booth: President Lincoln's Assassin -

According to John Cottrell, author of "Anatomy of an Assassination: The Murder of Abraham Lincoln," "It would seem that John Wilkes Booth first resolved to kidnap Lincoln at the time of his re-election. But his fanatical hatred of the President had smoldered and flamed for years before, at least since Lincoln's first election in 1860 and his proclaimed intent to maintain the Union. Now, possibly with a deep sense of guilt, since he had never risked his life for the Southern cause, he was set on his plan.

Booth spent four thousand dollars of his own money, in the first three months of 1865, attempting to set up the kidnapping of Lincoln. Some of his co-conspirators included Michael O' Laughlin (27), and Sam Arnold (28), both former school friends. Other conspirators included: John Harrison Surratt; David E. Herold (23); George A. Atzerodt (29); and Lewis Thornton Powell (20), AKA Lewis Paine.


Conspiracy meetings were held at Surratt's mother's boarding house. After several attempts to kidnap Lincoln failed because the uncooperative president failed to show up where and when expected, the kidnapping plan eventually evolved into a murder plot.



Booth bragged that fifty to one hundred like minded man were involved in the conspiracy. Once again, according to author John Cottrell, the conspiracy was in fact masterminded by Lincoln's own Secretary of War, Edwin McMasters Stanton, as part of a vast, well financed, but ultimately unsuccessful attempt to seize control of the Federal Government.

Cottrell claims that Ray Neff, in the early 1960s, came across an ancient copy of "Colburn's United Service Magazine" that had apparently once belonged to General Lafayette Baker, Stanton's detective chief and also a supposed co-conspirator in the death of Lincoln. A section of a coded message hand-printed on the pages of the magazine was decoded as follows: " There were at least eleven members of Congress involved in the plot, no less than twelve Army officers, three Naval officers, and at least twenty-four civilians, of which one was a governor of a loyal state. Five were bankers of great repute, there were nationally known newspapermen, and eleven were industrialists of great repute and wealth... eighty-five thousand dollars was contributed by the named persons for the deed."


While a list of unnamed conspirators certainly doesn't prove anything, a signature in the magazine, originally made in "invisible ink," was brought to visibility by subjecting a discolored spot in the magazine with ultra-short wavelength ultra-violet radiation. The signature, "L.C. Baker," taken to a Philadelphia handwriting expert in the early 60s, was declared genuine!