5 Assassination Attempts On Lincoln

Assassination Attempts On LincolnAbraham Lincoln is one of America’s most beloved Presidents.  However, during his lifetime, he was so bitterly hated by half the country that, well, they assassinated him.  How could one person cause that much hatred towards them? Even with the bitterness towards President Obama, the Republican party only wants to make him a one term president and they have done their best to destroy him!  Some historians believe that Abraham Lincoln was the reason for his own assassination.  During the Civil War, Lincoln had ordered his men to “take” Jefferson Davis and his entire cabinet and have them killed.  Confederate troops found this information after they ambushed a group of Union soldiers.  Was this the reason that Abraham Lincoln was killed in Ford’s Theater?  There were many attempts on Lincoln’s life during his presidency.  Here are five Assassination Attempts On Lincoln that we rarely hear about.

myfivebest -1THE FOILED PLOT IN BALTIMORE

Even before Lincoln took office, people were trying to kill him. In February of 1861, Lincoln left Springfield, Illinois by train to Washington, DC.  On the way there, he was set to make a stop off in Baltimore.  Right before he and his family left, his aides received reports of a planned assassination attempt in Baltimore and ordered the train to proceed immediately to Washington.  News of the assassination attempt was made by Chicago detective Allan Pinkerton who would lead the Union Intelligence Service which would become Secret Service. Working undercover, Pinkerton engaged in a conversation with a Captain Ferdinanda and an associate who told him “that damned abolitionist shall never set foot on Southern soil but to find a grave. One week from today the North shall want a new president, for Lincoln will be dead.” Lincoln didn’t want to believe the news and continued onto Baltimore.  His wife, Mary Todd, finally convinced him to abandon the trip and they went straight to Washington – the assassination attempt was avoided.

 

myfivebest - 2THE YELLOW FEVER OVERCOAT

This plot was devised by the Confederate Secret Service (CSS) who were working out of Canada.  During the war, the CSS started importing uniforms and other clothing that were infected with small pox and yellow fever that they acquired from Bermuda.  Some of the infected goods were to be placed in a valise intended for presentation to President Lincoln, while others were to be given or sold to Union troops. One witness, a Godfrey Hyams, testified that the Confederate Government appropriated $200,000 for carrying out the attack, and that he was promised at least $60,000 (but received only $100) for his role in distributing nine trunks of the infected goods.  Hyams said that the operation’s mastermind, Dr. Luke P. Blackburn, who he met in Halifax, told him that the disease”will kill them at sixty yards distance.” Hyams testified that he refused to deliver an infected trunk “as a donation to President Lincoln,” but did place the others in channels of distribution near concentrations of Union soldiers.  For his work, Hyams testified, he received congratulations from Confederate Senator, Clement Clay. Some of the infected goods were auctioned near a Union base of operations by New Bern, North Carolina shortly before nearly 2,000 citizens and soldiers died there during a yellow fever outbreak. It is doubtful that the clothes caused the deaths since it is mosquitoes cause Yellow Fever.  However, it may be noted that in a past myFiveBest article, Lincoln may have been suffering from Smallpox at the time of his death.

 

myfivebest - 3AN AMBUSH ON THE ROAD

In August, 1864, Abraham Lincoln was on his way, alone,  to the Old Soldier’s Home outside of Washington. As he was riding to his destination, a shot was fired, causing his horse to bolt and knocking his stovetop pipe hat from his head.  A soldier, Private John Nichols, was sent to retrieve the President’s hat, and found that a musketball hole in the side of it.  Lincoln dismissed this incident as a “foolish hunting accident” and the whole affair was hushed up.  However, Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, augmented the heavy guard that accompanied the president from that time forward whenever he left Washington. This happened only one month after our fourth attempt on Lincoln’s life, when there was an…

 

myfivebest - 4ATTACK ON THE PRESIDENT

At Fort Stevens outside of Washington D.C., on July 2, 1864, Abraham Lincoln came out to survey the battlefield during the fight.  While going over the plans, an officer standing next to President Lincoln was shot in the thigh.  It was the closest that any standing president came to being wounded during a battle.  He was quickly escorted away from the position and the entire incident was discredited to a lucky shot.  It now appears that there were several Confederate sharpshooters in the area at the time and this may have been an attempt to kill the President.  Studies have been done on this event and it is entirely possible that Lincoln could have been targeted at a range of 600-800 yards away.  With a Whitworth sniper rifle – used during the Civil War – the range could have been up to 1000 yards.  A lucky shot could have killed Lincoln.

 

myfivebest - 5THE PLOT TO BLOW UP THE WHITE HOUSE

This is possibly the most bizarre turn of events in the Civil War.  On April 2, 1865, Sgt. Thomas Harney, an explosives expert with the Confederate Torpedo Bureau.  He was given the orders to make his way into Washington D.C. and place explosives in a storage room under the White House dining room.  The plan was to destroy the floor of the dining room causing shrapnel and collapse of the room while Lincoln was having dinner.  By chance, they ran into an Illinois cavalry unit and were captured. The loss of Harney was called, by the Confederates, as “irretrievable”.  Less than a week later, the Civil War was over and Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.