Sunday Survey for June 24th., 2012

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     Welcome to the Sunday Survey for June 24th., 2012
     I'm filling in for Randal as he's on his way to Maryland for the weekend.

     John Surratt, Jr. was an integral part of Booth's plans and a trusted co-conspirator. After Booth returned from Canada with letters of introduction to Dr.'s Mudd and Queen, Surratt was probably the next Confederate operative he met as he formed his kidnap plans. They worked closely together for months.

     Most people will agree that Surratt was in N.Y. state on April 14th., 1865. If Booth changed his plans to murder between April 11th. and April 14th., Surratt may have never known of this.

     The question is - If Surratt was in Washington on April 14th., would he have participated in this new, drastic plan and what assignment would this trusted lieutenant been given?   


Thomas Thorne:
       I think John Surratt would have been a willing participant in  any Boothian murder scheme.   I think JWB might well have assigned him to kill Johnson.

Good question. I will have to say that I do not believe John Surratt would have taken part in a murder plot. I believe that once he found out that Booth planned to off Lincoln he would have skipped town like good ole George A.


     That's interesting, Craig. That also entered my mind as Surratt had a mother, sister and a home in Washington. Something tells me he wouldn't have been so desperate to make a sacrifice to the cause so late in the game. I'll venture to say he, due to his involvement with the CSA hierarchy, was a bit more enlightened to the reality of the situation than the rest of the conspirators and may have abstained.

John Stanton:
I agree that Surratt didn't want anything to do with the murder. I think he made a big show, to be seen elsewhere (Elmira), so that he would not be considered a participant. The prosecution thought they could bring in the liars, to prove their case. They were desperate. These were normally good people, honest and skilled - they knew that they had nothing on Surratt. John believed his Mother was safe.  No woman had ever been executed in the history of the U.S. So, he stayed away. But they punished John, by hanging his mother. Was she guilty?  That's another story for another time. You were very clever Johnny, but they got you anyhow. They got you good!


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