Chasing Lincoln’s Killer Chapters VI-VIII Summary & Analysis

James L. Swanson

Chasing Lincoln’s Killer

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Chasing Lincoln’s Killer Chapters VI-VIII Summary & Analysis

Chapter VI Summary

Stanton’s investigation progressed rapidly, and by 4:00 a.m. Booth’s strange, unsent letter had been discovered; this indicated the likelihood of a conspiracy plot. The letter gave clues that pointed toward a Confederate plot, as well as other things that were not exactly true. Meanwhile, the president was brain dead and his life was fading; he died at 7:22 a.m. Stanton took a lock of hair and sent it to Mary Janes Welles, the wife of the Secretary of the Navy. Welles had cared for the Lincolns before in times of need, and Stanton thought she deserved this memento.

After death, Lincoln was taken to the Executive Mansion in a plain pine box. Swanson notes that the coffin was fitting for this unpretentious figure. Likewise, the modest parade that escorted him, made of a carriage and a few officers on horse and foot, would have likely fit his tastes.

At 11:00 a.m., Andrew Johnson was sworn in as President in his room at Kirkwood House by Chief Justice Salmon Chase.

Meanwhile, John Surratt was in Elmira, New York, nowhere near the assassination plot. Learning of the assassination, he knew he could be a suspect, so he fled to Canada. From there he went to Rome, and enlisted in the pope’s army; however, after a year he was captured.

Army Lieutenant David Dana pursued the investigation in Maryland, but was confronted by a host of false leads.

The morning of Lincoln’s death, Atzerodt fled his room in the Kirkwood House. He discarded his knife, and this was spotted on the ground and provided a clue.

Over the next day or so, sanity was restored, as it appeared the plot was no longer in action and that no military attacks were imminent. Meanwhile, Herold and Mudd were closed in a net that they could not perceive. In the morning, with Mudd still unaware of the deed that his guests had perpetrated, Herold awoke and asked for a pair of crutches for Booth, which Mudd provided. Around the same time, Atzerodt had reached Georgetown; he pawned his pistols and set out to a presumably safe location.

The same…

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