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Artman, Enos R. (1838-1912)

Artman was a major in the 213th Pennsylvania Volunteers commanding the First Delaware Cavalry, stationed at Monocacy Junction near Frederick, Maryland, at the time of the assassination. Artman received information from an army undercover informant, James W. Purdom, that a suspicious character named Andrew Atwood (George Atzerodt) spoke knowingly of the assassination. Atwood was staying at the Germantown, Maryland home of a man named hartman Richter. At first, Artman did not act on the information, but on reconsidering the situation ordered Captain Solomon Townsend to send a party of troopers to check out Purdom's information. Townsend ordered Segeant Zachariah Gemmill to pick six troopers and go to Richter's house and investigate the situation. Gemmill and his men arrested Atzerodt and Richter around 4:00 A.M. on Thursday, April 20. Major Artman was awarded $1,250 of the reward money for his actions leading to Atzerodt's capture.

Sources: Statement of E.R. Artman, NARA, M619, reel 456, frames 146-48.

See also: Atzerodt, George Andrew; Gemmill, Zachariah.


Blackburn, Luke Pryor (1816-1887)

Luke Pryor Blackburn was a Kentucky physician who held a special devotion to the Confederacy and a passionate dislike for Lincoln and the Union. He was considered one of the leading medical experts on treating and controlling yellow fever. Blackburn, as did most of the medical community, erroneously believed the disease was infectious and could be spread by contact.

The belief that the disease was infectious led Blackburn to undertake a plan to infect select populations in the northern states, including Union troops stationed in the coastal towns of Norfolk, Virginia, and New Bern, North Carolina. In 1864, he devised a plan to collect and distribute clothing that had been exposed to victims of yellow fever. Blackburn's objective was to lower northern morale and support for the war and Lincoln's reelection. While subsequent history has treated Blackburn's yellow fever plot with skepticism, it was real, it was known at the highest levels of the Confederate government, and it was allowed to go forward.

As part of his plan of germ warfare, Blackburn specifically targeted President Lincoln. He purchased several elegant dress shirts, which he exposed to clothing taken from yelloe fever victims. The shirts were then packed in a special valise that Blackburn tried to convince an agent to deliver to Lincoln at the White House. Afraid of the risk involved in personally delivering the valise to the White House, the agent refused.

In September 1867, Blackburn wrote to President Andrew Johnson from Canada requesting a pardon for his blockade running activities and offering his services as a medical doctor to help quell recent yellow fever outbreaks in Louisiana. Johnson refused to grant Blackburn a pardon because of his previous attempts to initiate epidemics among civilians. Blackburn, however, returned to the United States a few months later, slipping unnoticed into New orleans. Returning to Lexington, Kentucky, he resumed his medical practice and helped fight a serious cholera epidemic in Lexington and yellow fever outbreaks in Natchez, Mississippi; New Orleans; and Hickman, Kentucky. In 1879, he was elected governor of Kentucky. His term as governor was controversial because of his institution of major prison reforms and generous pardon policies for serious crimes.

He died September 14, 1887, and was buried in Frankfort (Kentucky) Cemetery in a plot overlooking the Ohio River. Four years later the state placed a large granite monument over his grave; it declares, "In this great soul justice, honor, and mercy ruled." There is a bronze plaque depicting him as "the good Samaritan." These words stand in stark contrast to those that appeared in the Bermuda Royal Gazette newspaper describing Blackburn's yellow fever efforts as "an act of cruelty without parallel."

Sources: Nancy Disher Baird, Luke Pryor Blackburn (Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky, 1979); Edward Steers, Jr., "Risking the Wrath of God," North & South, 3, no. 7 (July 2000).

See also: Black Flag Warfare


Clemency Plea

A recommendation of mercy for Mary Surratt by five members of the military tribunal. Following the sentencing of Mary Surratt to death by hanging, five members of the tribunal sent an appeal to commute her sentence to life to President Andrew Johnson that read:

The undersigned members of the Military Commission detailed to try Mary E. Surratt and others for the conspiracy and the murder of Abraham Lincoln, late president of the United States, do respectfully pray the President, in consideration of the sex and age of the said Mary E. Surratt, if he can upon all the facts in the case, find it consistent with his sense of duty to the country to commute the sentence of death to imprisonment in the penitentiary for life.

David Hunter, August Kautz, Robert Foster, James Ekin, and Charles Tomkins signed the plea, Not signing were Lew Wallace, Albion Howe, Thomas Harris, and David Clendenin.

The plea soon developed into a major controversy involving Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt and President Johnson. Johnson later claimed Holt never showed him the plea document at the time he presented him with the sentencing document for his signature. Holt insisted he had shown Johnson the plea and that Johnson had simply ignored it, choosing not to commute Mary Surratt's sentence. The controversy continues to the present, with advocates on both sides of the question. It did Mary Surratt little good.

Sources: Roy Z. Chamlee,Jr., Lincoln's Assassins (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 1990), 440-42.