The Testimony Most Wanted: Davis Approved of the Plot! (On the Other Hand….)

May 20, 1865 (Saturday) Sanford Conover’s name was actually Charles Durham, and though he had been a clerk in the Confederate War Department, he was actually from New York. He had lived in Baltimore and Columbia, South Carolina. At the latter place, he was conscripted into the Rebel army, but was plucked from the ranksRead More

Drama, Gossip, and Petty Politics Still Alive in Washington

May 19, 1865 (Friday) Of late, Naval Secretary Gideon Welles’ diary entries had been short, a few sentences at best. But on this date, he returned to his windy and meandering ways, writing gossip, complaining, and recording the general drama of the time. Preston King tells me he has a letter from Senator Dixon, speakingRead More

Are Such Men Fit to Be at Liberty?

May 18, 1865 (Thursday) On this date, another letter was sent to President Andrew Johnson. Like the previous one, it was filled with violent threats. This one, however, streamed from the North rather than the South. Dear President Sir I do feel unworthy to write to you, but because the trouble We have out NorthRead More

Grant Orders Philip Sheridan to the West

May 17, 1865 (Wednesday) From the Personal Memoirs of Philip Sheridan: The surrender at Appomattox put a stop to all military operations on the part of General Grant’s forces, and the morning of April 10 my cavalry began its march to Petersburg, the men anticipating that they would soon be mustered out and returned toRead More

Trying to Tie Davis to Booth through Canada

May 16, 1865 (Tuesday) “It is very important to have the rebel War Department papers here immediately for use on the present trials,” wrote Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to Henry Halleck and General John Schofield. The latter replied: “I have all the archives of the late rebel War Department, including all the army muster-rolls,Read More

‘And the Devil’s Got Yours’ – Jeff Davis’ Ride to Savannah

May 15, 1865 (Monday) It had taken most of four days for Jefferson Davis and his family, along with most associated with his party when captured, to make their way under guard to Macon, Georgia. They had arrived on the 13th and left the day following. Shortly before arriving in Macon, John Reagan, the lastRead More

‘You Dare Not Hang That Man’ – Johnson Receives a Letter Brimming With Crazy

May 14, 1865 (Sunday) “Intelligence was received this morning of the capture of Jefferson Davis in southern Georgia. I met Stanton this Sunday P.M. at Seward’s, who says Davis was taken disguised in women’s clothes. A tame and ignoble letting down of the traitor.” – Gideon Welles, Naval Secretary. As the news spread through Washington,Read More