January 09, 2017: Barry Cauchon

2011 Supplement#1 Cover (55kb)   2012 Supplement#2-r1 Cover (257kb)   2013 Supplement#3 Cover (120kb)

Hi all:

At the beginning of every year, I like to repeat an offer to my blog followers that I started in 2015. 2017 will be no different. It is in regards to the three printed supplements from A Peek Inside the Walls series that my research partner, John Elliott and I wrote and published. The offer is a simple one. When you order any or all of these three supplements, I will include FREE SHIPPING to anywhere in the continental United States. Shipping costs to Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, Mexico and other international locations can be quoted upon request. NY residents please add 8% sales tax.

This offer is valid now until the end of May (ending May 31, 2017).

Please include the promo code PEEK2017 in your email subject line so I know to apply the Free Shipping rate to your order.

See supplement descriptions and ordering instructions below.

Thank you and have a great 2017.






One supplement = US $8.50 (includes any one supplement of your choice) + FREE SHIPPING = Total US $8.50.

Two supplements = US $8.25 each (includes any two supplements of your choice) + FREE SHIPPING = Total US $16.50.

Three supplements = US $7.50 each (includes any three supplements of your choice) + FREE SHIPPING = Total US $22.50.



No. 1: 2011 Supplement

No. 1: 2011 Supplement

Released in March, 2011, A Peek Inside the Walls: The Final Days of the Lincoln Conspirators (maroon cover)(24 pages). This was our first published booklet in the “A Peek” series and was meant to compliment our 2011 live presentation given at the Surratt House Museum and Surratt Society Lincoln Assassination conference. It was a ‘supplement’ for that talk. Since then, each publication in this series has been called a supplement.

This supplement features a chapter called Who Gave the Signal to Spring the Traps? in which our research challenged a long-standing historical belief that the man dressed in white, seen standing on the scaffold in the Alexander Gardner conspirator execution photos, was Christian Rath, the executioner. After conducting a thorough photographic analysis of the evidence and an extensive review of many first-person eyewitness accounts and resources, this belief was proven to be inaccurate. Due to poorly made assumptions, early misidentifications and, in one case, blatant fraud, our research led us to the solid conclusion that accepted history on this subject was wrong. The man in white was NOT Christian Rath. If you are like us, you’ll find the trail of evidence to be fascinating and the conclusions credible.

When the content of this supplement was first presented to the public at the 2011 conference, renown Lincoln Assassination expert, Dr. Terry Alford, Professor of History at Northern Virginia Community College, was in attendance. After our presentation, Dr. Alford addressed the audience and offered the following statement: It’s very difficult to do anything original and you guys have done it.  I think you deserve the highest praise for it because it’s truly remarkable”.

The research in this supplement has continued to receive enthusiastic acclaim from the Lincoln Assassination Research Community and the public and has been written up in articles for the Surratt Society Courier and the Lincoln Herald (the oldest Lincoln-related publication in print today).


No. 2: 2012 Supplement (revised Fall 2013)

No. 2: 2012 Supplement (revised and updated in Fall 2013)

In March, 2012, we published our second conference supplement called A Peek Inside the Walls: The Final Days of the Lincoln Conspirators. 13 Days Aboard the Monitors: The Early Incarceration of the Conspirators, the Mug Shot Photo Sessions and the Truth about the Hoods (blue cover)(28 pages). It’s a long title but this supplement is packed with great information featuring the facts, tales and plausible theories surrounding the early incarceration of the conspirators aboard the U.S.S. Saugus and U.S.S. Montauk prior to being sent to the Arsenal Penitentiary. This supplement was revised in the fall of 2013 when additional information came to light.

Part 1: The Early Incarceration of the Conspirators. For thirteen days in April of 1865, the Union Navy, under the direction of the War Department, became an unexpected participant in the story of the Lincoln conspirators. From April 17 to April 29, eight men suspected in the attacks on President Lincoln and Secretary of State William Seward, were sent to the Washington Navy Yard for confinement aboard two ironclad monitors anchored offshore. Kept below decks under intolerable conditions, these prisoners were forced to wear iron restraints on their wrists and ankles, as well as hoods over their heads. They were interrogated and photographed, but mostly just left to sit in silence for endless hours of isolation to contemplate their fates.

Part 2: The Mug Shot Photo Sessions. Twenty-six famous, or infamous, ‘mug shot’ photographs of these prisoners were taken by Alexander Gardner during the prisoners’ time on the monitors. History has allowed many people to believe that all twenty-six images were shot during a single photo session on April 27. However, solid evidence, partnered with photographic analysis, suggests that multiple sessions were conducted. The results offer an intriguing and plausible alternative to the long-held ‘single photo session’ belief.

Part 3: The Truth about the Hoods. Much misinformation has been published about the hoods. In an attempt to clear up the confusion, this supplement offers a simple presentation of the facts concerning the following: 

•How many hood types were created?

•Who did, and did not, wear the hoods?

•When and where were each type worn?


No. 3: 2013 Supplement

2013 Supplement

2013 Supplement

In August, 2013, we published our third supplement called A Peek Inside the Walls: The Final Days of the Lincoln Conspirators. The Mystery of John Wilkes Booth’s Autopsy Photo (sepia cover)(24 pages).

Often considered the Holy Grail of Lincoln assassination relics, John Wilkes Booth’s autopsy photo, presumed lost since 1865, has captivated the interest of countless researchers and historians, who believed that one day it would be found. Now, recently discovered evidence suggests that this prized photo may never have existed at all.



To purchase any of these supplements, please contact me by email at barryssentials@hotmail.com and indicate which supplement(s) and the quantity of each you wish to have. Also, please include your shipping address. Remember to add the promo code PEEK2017 for free shipping.

If you would like me to sign the supplements I am happy to do so…just ask. At present, John is unable to sign these as he resides in San Antonio, TX. These supplements ship from Corning, NY.

PAYMENT: Upon receiving your email, I will send you a confirmation quotation with payment options. I accept PayPal, checks, money orders or bank drafts. Please include your shipping address and indicate which payment method you wish to use so I can be on the look out for it.

All supplements are mailed from Corning, NY by USPS (United States Postal Services).

AVAILABILITY:  All three supplements are presently available. If the inventory becomes depleted, I will reprint as required. I will let you know prior to your payment of any delays you may be facing.

Thank you for considering A Peek Inside the Walls.  If you have any questions, please email me at barryssentials@hotmail.com. I’ll be happy to help assist you.





ABOUT BARRY & JOHN – Barry Cauchon and John Elliott have been active members in the Lincoln Assassination research community since 2009 and specialize in the incarceration and punishments of the Lincoln Conspirators. Their research has been published in the Lincoln Herald, Surratt Society Courier and are credited in numerous assassination-related books. Both have presented their work at several Surratt Society Lincoln Assassination annual conferences and have advised on film and documentary projects such as Robert Redford’s “The Conspirator” (2010) and National Geographic’s “Killing Lincoln” (2013). John and Barry have jointly written and published three supplements (booklets) under the series name “A Peek Inside the Walls: The Final Days of the Lincoln Conspirators”.

150th Anniversary of the Lincoln Conspirator Trial Event at Fort McNair (May 08 & 09, 2015)

May 21, 2015: Barry Cauchon.

John, Mike, Barry, Betty, Kate (08May15)

John Elliott, Mike Kauffman, Barry Cauchon, Betty Ownsbey, Kate Clifford-Larson

The VIP tour inspecting the grave locations for the Lincoln conspirators and Henry Wirz.

The VIP tour inspecting the grave locations for the Lincoln conspirators and Henry Wirz.

Hi all: On May 8-9, 2015 I had the privilege of participating in the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the start of the Lincoln Conspirator Military Tribunal held at Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington D.C.  May 08 commemorated the first day the military commission met behind closed doors to organize their procedures and May 09 commemorated the first day of the actual trial when the prisoners were brought into the courtroom.

The two-day event began on Friday night with a VIP reception at the Fort McNair Officer’s Club hosted by Colonel Michael Henderson.  Guests included many military officials, historians, NDU specialists and staff, authors, descendants, benefactors, members of the Surratt House Museum and Surratt Society, several Civil War round table officials and some dear old friends.  I was one of four speakers presenting that night.  Joining me at the podium were Michael Kauffman, author of American Brutus and In the Footsteps of an Assassin; John Elliott (my research partner) and specialist in the courtroom stories as seen from the spectators’ points of view; and historian Betty Ownsbey (Lewis Powell’s biographer) and author of Alias Paine (2nd edition).

Following the presentations on Friday night, the attendees were invited to take tours of the restored courtroom and the exterior grounds where the executions took place in July of 1865. John, Betty and Mike led the tours in the courtroom whereas I toured the execution site and vicinity. Earlier that day, John and I painstakingly laid out the locations of the scaffold, the four conspirators’ graves, Henry Wirz’ (Commandant of Andersonville Prison) grave and John Wilkes Booth’s grave.  We also laid out the locations for the penitentiary’s 20′ high east wall, the door from which the prisoners exited the penitentiary to their executions and the Shoe Factory where Alexander Gardner took his famous series of photographs depicting the executions.

I am grateful and thankful to the folks at Fort McNair who asked me to lay out the locations of these elements (which had never been done before).  I have had the dimensions and calculations in both my head and on paper for several years now and was thrilled to finally get a chance to plot them in situ.  When you see them in their actual environment, the entire scale of the event is easier to envision.

On Saturday, May 09, there was a public open house with free tours to those who signed up.  For fire safety reasons, only about 45 people are allowed to occupy the courtroom at any one time so four sessions were planned. John Elliott and Mike Kauffman split the presentations in the courtroom and I did the walking tours outside.  It turned out to be a beautiful day and everyone who attended seemed to really enjoy themselves.

I want to thank Leah Rubalcaba (Community Relations Officer) and Rob Joswiak (Public Affairs Specialist) and other members of the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall team for pulling this event together.  I was excited to be a part of it and look forward to assisting again in the future.

To see a great article with photos about this event, go to Dave Taylor’s Boothie Barn blog.  The article called A Military Tribunal Observation  was written by Kate Ramirez and she did a great job in summarizing the two-day commemoration.  Thanks Kate and Dave.


Finally, I want to thank my wife, Christine for accompanying me to Washington and sharing her wonderful and never-ending support. I love you dearly.

Have a wonderful day.




The Garden of Death: The Fallen Sparrows of Fort Mahone

April 02, 2015: Barry Cauchon

Angela Smythe has been a friend of mine for several years now and is one of the hidden gems in our research community. I am a strong supporter of her Civil War history work and have previously published her studies on John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays. These articles can all be found on her website http://www.AntebellumRichmond.com.

Today Angela releases her latest work called The Garden of Death: The Fallen Sparrows of Fort Mahone. It is a detailed study of the photographs taken by Thomas C. Roche on April 3, 1865 of the deadly aftermath of the Third Battle of Petersburg (VA), one of the last Civil War battles to be fought. Less than one week later on April 9, Robert E. Lee would surrender his Army of Northern Virginia at the Appomattox Court House in Appomattox, Virginia formally ending the war between the states.

I will let Angela take it from here.

Click on the link below for Angela’s introduction to “The Garden of Death: The Fallen Sparrows of Fort Mahone”. The link at the bottom of that intro will lead you to their website and the complete essay.

Intro to Fallen Sparrows

Congratulations Angela on another wonderful piece of research presented both graphically and poetically.





Washington Post (14Jan82)

January 15, 2015: Barry Cauchon

Washington D.C:  Three days ago (January 12) the Washington DC Metrorail subway system experienced a tragic subway fire that caused heavy smoke to fill the tunnel and engulf a stopped train. Many suffered smoke inhalation and one died from the incident. The occurrence received national coverage by all the major news media outlets.

This was the third major tragedy to strike the Washington DC Metrorail subway system. The second occurred on June 22, 2009 when a southbound train on the Red Line slammed into the back of another train stopped on the tracks ahead of it. Nine people lost their lives. This disaster also received national attention.

Unlike the two accidents that would follow it in 2009 and 2015, the very first fatal incident to occur in the history of the Washington Metrorail subway is barely known to most. In that tragedy three people died and yet the story received little media coverage. With that said, what made this event different from the other two to practically be ignored and almost lost to history! The answer is not a malicious one but rather one of shear coincidence. The subway accident was overshadowed by an even greater disaster that occurred minutes before it and only about a mile away. Both happened in the same city, on the same day and within the same hour.

The day was Wednesday, January 13, 1982. A heavy snow had fallen all day on Washington and many commuters had left work early to beat the rush hour traffic.  At 4:00 pm, just twenty-nine minutes before the subway accident would occur, the first tragedy unfolded. A commercial airliner, Air Florida Flight 90 carrying 74 passengers and 5 crew, took off from Washington National Airport from runway 36. As the plane began to climb, snow and ice build-up on the wings caused the jet to suddenly lose altitude and in less than a minute, crashed onto the top of the 14th Street Bridge. Seven occupied vehicles were crushed as the jet careened off the bridge and then disappeared beneath the icy waters of the Potomac River. On the bridge, four people were killed and four were injured. Incredibly, six people from the plane somehow survived the crash and escaped the broken wreckage lying beneath the water. Injured but alive, they found their way to the surface and clung to what little wreckage remained above water. Surrounded by broken ice and immersed in jet fuel and frigid water, these six survivors became the immediate focus of witnesses, rescuers, emergency personnel and the media, who arrived shortly thereafter. All were helpless to assist the survivors as they were too far from the shore. One heroic civilian, Roger Olian ran from his car and dove into the water, swimming out from shore to try to reach the survivors but was unable to reach their location. Approximately twenty minutes after the crash, a US Park Service police helicopter arrived on scene and began dropping safety rings and life lines to the survivors. One survivor, Arland D. Williams, Jr., age 46, bravely passed the life lines he was dropped to other survivors first, allowing them to be pulled to shore thus saving their lives. Once the fifth survivor had made it to shore, the helicopter returned to pick up Arland. To the officers’ shock, Williams was no where to be seen. He had quietly slipped unnoticed beneath the waters of the frozen Potomac. His body would be recovered days later. Arland D. Williams gave his life to save the others. The 14th Street Bridge was renamed the Arland D. Williams Memorial Bridge to commemorate his bravery and selfless act of heroism.

The entire rescue operation was captured live by news camera crews and broadcast around the world. While their attention was focused on the plane crash and rescue operation, very few were aware of the subway accident that had just occurred minutes after the helicopter arrived at the Potomac.

It was 4:29 pm when an eastbound train on the Orange Line between the Federal Triangle and Smithsonian stations (just outside the National Museum of American History) encountered a problem. Approximately 1200 people were onboard at the time of the accident. The train had been unintentionally routed onto a crossover track so the crew were in the process of backing up when the last car derailed and was crushed into a concrete pillar. Of the +-220 people in this car, three were killed and 25 injured.

As horrific as the subway accident was for all involved, it was overshadowed by the Air Florida plane crash and survivor rescue. To this day, few know about the accident. And as time has passed, it has almost been forgotten entirely.


  • Both accidents happened thirty-three years ago on January 13, 1982.
  • Both occurred in Washington DC approximately a mile apart from each other.
  • Both were during rush hour and happened within a half hour of each other.
  • Both resulted in a total of 81 deaths and 29 injuries.
  • Both had heroes and unsung heroes.

Personal note: I vividly remember watching the national news coverage of this plane crash and the rescue of the survivors. I couldn’t pull myself away from the television. Short of the 9/11 coverage, few televised live events have gripped my attention like this one. But as hard as I try to remember back to that evening, I cannot recall hearing anything about the subway accident.

It was only in January, 2010 (five years ago), while researching details for a blog on the Air Florida crash, that I discovered the subway tragedy. The sheer coincidence of having not one, but two disasters in the same city, on the same day and almost at the same time amazed me. Although I had written a draft of the blog, for some reason I never published it. And every year since then, as the anniversary of the disasters neared, I had planned on posting it. But it never happened…until this year. I think the catalyst to publish now was the recent subway incident. My mind looks for connections or coincidences that may or may not make any sense. This event occurred in the same city, almost on the same day and time as the 1982 event. Is there a connection or is it just strange timing or coincidence? It doesn’t really matter and it’s not rational. But it did spark me to finish this article and get it online.

The one big difference I see in me now as compared to five years ago, is that the people who lost their lives or loved ones in these tragedies are on my mind much more now as compared to back then when I was more interested in just sharing facts, figures and the intimate horrific details. Those facts are necessary but are not the heart of the story. It’s the human element that attracts us. In 1982, it was the survivor rescue that held me glued to the TV.

As I mature as a writer, and generally as a human being, I am becoming more emotionally in tune with the people who are involved in these tragedies and my heart goes out to all the victims, survivors, their families and friends, rescuers, heroes and unsung heroes. The events may disappear from our memories in time but the people should never be forgotten. They are the real story.







May 10, 2014

Barry M. Cauchon

Well, this is it. Angela Smythe has sent me the last installment of her fantastic research. It was five years in the making. Each step was shared here on this blog each year on the anniversary of John Wilkes Booth’s birth (May 10). The final piece of the puzzle is now presented here. Congratulations Angela. I’m proud of you. You are a wonderful friend and colleague and I appreciate that you allowed me to be a part of this exceptional journey.



Chasing Shadows 150 Years Old, Part II

“Conversations through the Glass”

John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays

by Angela Smythe

“I think that’s John Wilkes Booth!”

I remember that moment from almost six years ago as if it was yesterday

My interest as an “armchair historian” was never in the American Civil War. I had no family history, both sides coming here long afterwards. My knowledge base was limited solely to the occasional documentary, reading (and seeing) Gone with the Wind, marveling at Bette Davis’ performance even earlier as the quintessential southern belle in Jezebel, and a glancing knowledge of what I thought were the facts, or what I had been taught were the facts about that war years ago.   A dear friend of mine, the late Dr. Moustafa Chahine, asked me one day over lunch while rehashing our shared history interests “Did I think that Mrs. Lincoln was crazy?”  I said I didn’t really know and he asked me to “Look into it and tell me what I thought.”  So I read a few books and provided my opinion.  He then asked me “Did I think Mrs. Surratt was guilty?”  Again I gave him the same response, which again prompted his earlier one of  “Well, look into and tell me what YOU think.”  In search of that answer; of course any path leads you to the Lincoln Assassination and to John Wilkes Booth.  The more I read about the historic “John Wilkes” the less he seemed to fit the image of “Booth” that I remembered from my now long ago college years.  In hoping to learn about the man behind the myth, I consulted his sister’s memoir, Asia Booth Clarke’s The Unlocked Book where I found her mention of a photograph taken of him in uniform while at Charlestown.  An armchair artist in addition to an armchair historian, this immediately got my attention – Did it still exist?

That was in the summer of 2009. Throughout a path that has lead from a troop train in Richmond in 1859 to a note written in one of Mrs. Ella Mahoney’s library books in 1937, the answer has proved to be yes.  Not only a newly discovered image of him, but of him in THE most iconic image of the American Civil War.

“Conversations through the Glass” completes the 5 year journey from thinking it to proving it.


Conversations FINAL V11

John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays – The Final Word by Angela Smythe

March 30, 2014

by Barry Cauchon

On February 20, 2014, I received a ‘one sentence’ email from my good friend and researcher, Angela Smythe containing the following message Can I do a shout out now: “YO ADRIAN – WE DID IT!”.

With this proclamation, I instantly knew that Angela was telling me she had found something substantial in her research documenting John Wilkes Booth in RG#1.

Over the past five years, Angela Smythe has given me the honor of being the first to publish her ongoing work on John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays. Angela’s goal has been to show, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that several images of the Richmond Grays, which featured a man resembling John Wilkes Booth, was in fact, the man himself.

In May, 2010 I started a series on this blog called “STATE YOUR CASE” in which unknown researchers were invited to present their work in an open forum to the public. In return, they would received critiques and comments on their work. Angela was one of three to submit their work and her research caught the eye of several historians and researchers. As for me, I was so impressed with Angela’s methodology and reasoning behind her theory that, even though she did not have 100% proof at the time, she was definitely on the right path and it would just be a matter of time before she found success. Well, sometimes success takes a while. Five years to be exact. But Angela is now ready to present the final evidence in “Glimpsing a Shadow from Richmond” and “Conversations through the Glass” to prove that John Wilkes Booth is in these photos. And she has some strong backing from several historians and scholars. I am very proud of her and her ‘stick to it’ attitude that finally solved the puzzle.

If you’d like to read Angela’s previous submittals (always posted on May 10 – John Wilkes Booth’s birthday), please click on the links below.

STATE YOUR CASE (No. 3): Has He Been Hiding in Plain Sight? John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays  (May 10, 2010)

OUT OF HIDING – John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays (May 10, 2011)

BOUND FOR GLORY by Angela Smythe (May 10, 2012)

CHASING SHADOWS 150 YEARS OLD – John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays (May 10, 2013)

For now, this is just a “Glimpse” into the culminating article of the Five Part study on John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays, “Conversations through the Glass” which will be posted on, you guessed it, May 10, 2014.

Congratulations Angela.




Glimpsing a Shadow from Richmond by Angela Smythe

“He left Richmond and unsought enrolled himself as one of the party going to search for and capture John Brown. 

He was exposed to dangers and hardships; he was a scout and I have been shown a picture of himself and others in their scout and sentinel dresses.”

Clarke, Asia Booth. The Unlocked Book: A Memoir of John Wilkes Booth by His Sister. New York; G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1938. Pgs.111-112.


RG#1, viewed in positive orientation as a print

Always in search of a recollection or clue that would lead to the picture Asia described, on Friday, Valentine’s Day 2014, news arrived that morning from the most respected source possible, Professor Terry Alford, providing me with such a lead, linked to an improbable source – Izola Forrester’s book This One Mad Act.

Professor Alford, knowing of my 5 years on-going research seeking Asia Booth Clarke’s photograph, kindly provided me with his notes advising me that on page 345 of her book, Forrester commented that her grandmother’s Bible contained three photographs, one of them a group of uniformed men with John Wilkes Booth in the center rear (just as we see pictured in RG#1). Further, that the Historical Society of Harford County’s collection contained Booth family confidante and chronicler Mrs. Ella Mahoney’s copy of this book, complete with her handwritten note on this page in the margin next to this sentence where she remarkably confirmed “I have one of these from the Booth Family”.  

When Professor Alford alerted me to look in this particular book, one which years ago I had abandoned any attempt to read at least one hundred pages before Forrester’s statement appeared, and asked me what I “made of it” in light of Mrs. Mahoney’s confirming written comment, I was flabbergasted to say the least.

While waiting (interminably it seemed over the next few intervening days) for Tom Fink’s kind assistance in locating Mrs. Mahoney’s annotated copy of the book at HSHC, I focused on the tantalizing possibility of what this could mean; that from the most unlikely of sources and out of the most inexplicable place, Izola Forrester had somehow pulled from grandmother’s Bible a vintage print of RG#1, and further, that Mrs. Ella Mahoney, someone with uncontested close contact with the Booth family, had attested in writing that she had been given one herself, by the family.

Potentially, this could mean finding not one but two vintage prints of a photograph that matched the description of the leading candidate I had identified in five years of research to be Asia Booth Clarke’s photograph of her brother, John Wilkes, taken in uniform while at Charles Town with the Richmond Grays in 1859.

While Mrs. Mahoney’s photograph obviously had solid provenance to the Booth family, just how could one have come from Izola Forrester grandmother’s Bible?  Just what, Professor Alford asked, could I possibly make of that information?

“Glimpsing a Shadow from Richmond”   answers that question.

Click “Glimpsing a Shadow from Richmond” above to take you to the article. Also in PDF below.

Glimpsing a Shadow from Richmond – John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays (PDF)



December 06, 2013

by Barry Cauchon

Hi all: In August of this year, John Elliott and I formally dissolved our writing partnership due to time constraints and work commitments. We had enjoyed a wonderful four-year run of research and writing escapades that resulted in three self-published booklets (we call them supplements) written under the A Peek Inside the Walls: The Final Days of the Lincoln Conspirators series. The Surratt House Museum gift shop sells them individually or as a ‘three-pack’ if you are interested in purchasing them (http://www.surrattmuseum.org/su_gift.html). The booklist on the site isn’t quite up-to-date so call the gift shop directly at (301) 868-1121 and the nice folks there can help you.

2011 Supplement#1 Cover (55kb)     2012 Supplement#2-r1 Cover (257kb)     2013 Supplement#3 Cover (120kb)

Getting back to our partnership dissolution, the one thing that didn’t end was our friendship and the desire to share what we’ve discovered. So, being that you can’t always keep a good team down, John and I have decided that we will do another supplement (our fourth). It is currently in the works and will feature the Lincoln conspirators’ trial room (recently restored at Fort McNair in Washington D.C.). The release of this supplement is planned for March, 2014. John is writing the piece and I will handle the images, illustrations and design layouts. We look forward to sharing this with you in the very near future.

Have a wonderful holiday season.





August 26, 2013

by Barry Cauchon

Hi all: John Elliot and I have been research partners for four years. We’ve developed a great friendship and thoroughly enjoyed working together making discoveries and sharing them with you. Our main goal for partnering was to produce a book about the incarceration and punishments of the Lincoln conspirators called “Inside the Walls: The Final Days of the Lincoln Conspirators”. Due to heavy work schedules, for the most part, the book was just not getting done. So we have decided to make a change that will allow for the project to come to fruition. The following announcement will explain the details. John will post the same on his Facebook page “Inside the Walls”.

With warm regards



After several years of enjoying a successful research venture together, John and Barry have agreed to dissolve their partnership and pursue individual interests. Largely due to Barry’s work schedule, the goal of writing and publishing Inside the Walls: The Final Days of the Lincoln Conspirators became a difficult task to manage. 

After a short period of discussion, the two mutually agreed on a plan. Moving forward John will take complete ownership of the book Inside the Walls: The Final Days of the Lincoln Conspirators, writing it himself. Barry will concentrate on writing and publishing smaller independent supplements as time permits.

John will also take full ownership of the name Inside the Walls, the Facebook page and the website (currently under construction). 

John and Barry will continue to share their common interests, maintain their friendship, and look forward to ongoing associations with the research community, which has been so kind and welcoming. Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to all of you for having supported our mutual endeavors. 

Kind Regards, 

Barry Cauchon & John Elliott




May 30, 2013
Barry Cauchon
Hi all: Well, here is the discovery that I alluded to in my posting from yesterday. It is creating a huge buzz in the Lincoln assassination research community. We hope you find it interesting as well.
The following was written by my research partner, John Elliott who discovered the information about the Booth Autopsy photo.
JWBooth Autopsy 13-May-65 (Harpers Weekly)
Every now and then a discovery gets made that can’t be suppressed or selfishly withheld from the public in order to help sell a book.
I’ve been across the country from Andersonville, GA to Harrisburg, PA and all the way to the middle of the Gulf of Mexico in search of new discoveries that will help forward Lincoln assassination studies.  Most of the time, I’ve come up short but at least I know …I checked and can cross things off my list of unknowns.
Recently, the research Gods threw me a bone and practically rewarded me for my past efforts and time.  While searching for eyewitness accounts of John Wilkes Booth’s burial, I discovered a newspaper  article that has been hidden and/or overlooked by researchers for nearly 125 years.
The article definitively answers the question “Where is the John Wilkes Booth autopsy photo?”
In the following days, a press release  will be issued detailing this latest discovery but we’d like to share it with you here first.  We will also be selling a supplement, similar to our two others, that will provide more details, interesting tidbits and supporting evidence of our new find.
In 1891, a story was printed in a major newspaper stating that a Rev. Armstrong of Atlanta was believed by many to be John Wilkes Booth.  Not only did he look like the actor, Booth’s brother Edwin often visited and spent time with him.
In response to this article, an eyewitness to Booth’s autopsy stepped forward and denounced the silly claim by stating undeniably that John Wilkes Booth was dead.  The eyewitness was none other than Lawrence Gardner, the son of Alexander Gardner.
As an aside, Lawrence Gardner stated the following:
“The object of my father’s visit to the Monitor was photography, and the body in question was to be the subject.  Did we take a picture? No.  After everything had been prepared Gen. Eckert concluded that inasmuch as there was so little likeness in the remains to the photograph in existence of Booth, perhaps it would be best not to make the picture, and the plan was abandoned for that reason.”
Other than a statement made by Alexander Gardner himself, there can be no better source than his son, to definitively say what happened to the Booth autopsy photo.
Lawrence Gardner was only 17  when he assisted his father on the Montauk.  He would later go on to have a very successful career in politics and was a well respected, prominent citizen of Washington D.C.  At the time he made his statement regarding the Booth autopsy, he was 42 years old and of sound mind.
Among the other revelations in the article, Gardner claims that Booth’s tattoo was surrounded by a wreath of stars.   Lawrence’s involvement also challenges Osbon Oldroyd’s claim that Timothy O’Sullivan was Alex Gardner’s assistant at the Navy Yard.
I’ve been asked by a couple of people if I am disappointed  there is no photo to be found.   Truthfully, I was beginning to doubt that it ever existed and this article supported my beliefs.
For the past few months Barry and I had been looking further in to this area and we both started doubting and challenging quite a few things that supposedly occurred on the Montauk.
We will continue to look for amazing new discoveries to share with you all in the future.  For the time being, thanks again for all your support.  We sincerely appreciate it.
Published in: on Thursday, May 30, 2013 at '2:26 pm'  Comments (5)  



May 29, 2013

Barry Cauchon

As many of you know, my research partner, John Elliott and I have been working on our book, “Inside the Walls: The Final Days of the Lincoln Conspirators” which is due for release at the end of this year. On May 17, John was investigating aspects of photographer Timothy O’Sullivan’s involvement in the Lincoln conspirator photo sessions conducted aboard the Union monitors Saugus and Montauk. During his search, John discovered a major find of historical importance related to the John Wilkes Booth autopsy photograph.

For those of you not familiar with the story of John Wilkes Booth’s autopsy photograph and the significance of what will be presented here and on our Facebook page “Inside the Walls”, I will quickly summarize what this is about.

On April 26, 1865, after twelve days of being on the run following Lincoln’s assassination, John Wilkes Booth and his accomplice David Herold were tracked down by Union soldiers in Bowling Green, Virginia. After a short standoff, Herold gave himself up but Booth, refusing to surrender, was shot and died on site. Herold and the body of Booth were transported back to Washington and in the early morning hours of April 27, delivered to the USS Montauk, a Union monitor anchored 100 yards offshore from the Navy Yard. Moored next to the Montauk was a second monitor, the USS Saugus. The two ships were heavily guarded and received Herold, who joined seven other prisoners suspected of being involved in the plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln and other government officials. Booth’s body was placed on a carpenter’s bench on the deck of the Montauk. Later that morning, photographer Alexander Gardner, who had visited the ships over the previous week and a half for the purpose of photographing some of the prisoners, was called upon again. Gardner and an assistant were summoned to photograph the autopsy of John Wilkes Booth. According to a letter written by Detective James A. Wardell published in Mark Katz’ 1999 book “Witness to an Era: The Life and Photographs of Alexander Gardner”, Wardell reported that he was instructed to collect Gardner and his assistant (Timothy O’Sullivan) and escort them to the Navy Yard for the sole purpose of photographing Booth’s autopsy. Only one photograph was to be taken and he was instructed to personally accompany the assistant back to the studio to obtain one print from that negative. He was then to deliver the negative and print to Secretary of War Stanton at the War Department. Based on Wardell’s letter, he did as he was told and went to the War Department where he met Col. Lafayette Baker just outside of Stanton’s office. Wardell gave Baker the envelope containing the negative and print. Once satisfied with its content, Baker dismissed Wardell. The photograph has never been seen since. 

In the world of Lincoln Assassination research circles and Civil War photography investigators, this photograph is considered to be one of the Holy Grails of relics associated with this tragic event.

Besides the Wardell letter, other clues point to its existence. A NY Tribune article published on April 28, 1865 stated that a photograph was taken. Then in May, two woodcut illustrations were published (one in Harper’s Weekly and one in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper). Both drawings looked similar in detail and supposedly were based on Gardner’s actual photograph (a practice often employed by the newspapers since printing technology to reproduce photographs didn’t exist at that time). To further add to the belief that the photograph existed, in 1952, a fourteen year old boy name Ron Rietveld discovered an authentic photograph of Abraham Lincoln in his coffin. This photograph had originally been confiscated by Secretary of War Stanton and was thought to be destroyed. The belief was that if Stanton held onto this photograph, then in all likelihood he kept the photograph of Booth’s autopsy as well.

This week, John and I will publish one of the biggest finds we’ve ever made since we began investigating and researching the story of Lincoln’s assassination. And it will shed new and very exciting information about the Booth autopsy photograph. Stay tuned.




Chasing Shadows 150 Years Old – John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays

May 10, 2013

by Barry Cauchon

Hi all: I am proud to present the newest installment of Angela Smythe’s wonderful research work on John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays. If you have been following her two earlier postings (May 10, 2011 and May 10, 2012) you will know that her work is thorough and engaging. Enjoy this third installment (Part one of two) and please do not hesitate to comment and compliment Angela on her outstanding efforts.




“Chasing Shadows 150 Years Old – John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays”



Part One:

“Chasing a Shadow from Richmond”

by Angela Smythe                                                             

May 10, 2013


Several years ago, I began my quest to find the picture Asia saw.  In 2010,  I wrote “Has He Been Hiding in Plain Sight – John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays” (“Hiding”). In 2011 I continued my quest in Out of Hiding – John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays” (“Out of Hiding”), which examined some of the distinctive facts surrounding one of three 6th plate ambrotypes taken at Charles Town, Richmond Grays (RG) #1.  I concentrated on its most intriguing fact, that shortly after Booth’s return to Richmond from Charles Town in 1859, it had been reproduced and enlarged by a then rarely used early glass plate negative process to make albumen prints.


This rarity for its time and place lead one of its prints in 1911 to be misidentified in Francis Trevelyan Miller’s Photographic History of the Civil War as “Young Southerners at Richmond Making Light of War” just before Bull Run.  This error would result in it becoming one of the most widely recognized and reproduced pictures representing the American Civil War, ironically taken during the time which many consider to be that war’s true beginning, John Brown’s invasion of Virginia.

My third installment researching these images, “Chasing Shadows 150 Years Old – John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays,” will be presented in two parts.  Part One: “Chasing a Shadow from Richmond” (“Shadow”) tells how within a remarkable journey to reclaim their true identity, these misidentified Virginia Volunteers seen in RG#1 became the face of the American Civil War.

Throughout this photograph’s amazing history, the compelling faces of these young soldiers have entered our national consciousness.  Shadows from the past, they have somehow transcended their own time to now represent a “Band of Brothers” for all time.

For the past 150 years, has John Wilkes Booth’s face been among them, hiding from history in plain sight while proving his fealty to Virginia in the most iconic uniformed group image of his time?  No, he hasn’t been hiding; he’s been there in the shadows all along.

Come and follow RG#1’s “Shadow from Richmond” to see how…

Angela Smythe

May 10, 2013





My journey accompanying John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays continues in;

“Chasing Shadows 150 Years Old –

John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays”

 Part Two:

“Conversations through the Glass”

August, 2013

Killing Lincoln: a National Geographic two-hour documentary – Fact or Fiction?

February 20, 2013:

by Barry Cauchon

KILLING LINCOLN was aired for the first time on February 17, 2013 on the National Geographic channel. Earlier this summer, several members of the Lincoln Assassination research community were contacted and asked to assist with research for the project. Erik Jendresen (Band of Brothers), the producer/writer for the documentary was very interested in getting the story as accurate as possible.

I spoke with Erik a couple of times during his research and filled him in on my area of expertise which is the incarceration and punishments of the Lincoln Conspirators. My research and writing partner John Elliott also had several conversations with him on the same subjects. During the vetting process we were asked to proof read the script and comment on areas where the facts were not always firm…which we did.  All went well and about eight months later, if you watched the documentary, you saw the end result.

Since the documentary aired, we have been asked how authentic the content was. Was it accurately depicted? Generally speaking, it was really good. One can always point out where the director might have taken artistic licence to move the story along or where he was forced to cut out an important part due to broadcast time restraints, but all in all, it was a fair represenation of the accepted storyline.

Right now, I’m sure some of you are probably asking yourself why my answer isn’t a direct yes or no response. Was the documentary accurate or was it not? The truth is that the answer is not straightforward. Much of history is not as factual as one would like. Most can be attributed to assumptions, half truths and more often than not, some good guesses. Incorrect versions of historical events printed long ago have been repeated so often that they eventually become accepted history. In our area of research, John and I have uncovered many accepted ‘facts’ that are at best, plausible theories. There are usually not enough facts to justify these accounts as being 100% true. And in a couple of cases, we have discovered evidence of pure fraud that became accepted fact which ending up in all the history books as ‘the real deal’. Sadly, they are bogus.

It is extremely difficult to ‘unteach’ an accepted point of view, especially when it has been repeated and accepted for so long.

Another reason why history isn’t always a solid ‘fact or fiction’ decision is because many historians and researchers can’t agree on what the actual truth is, often resulting in even more confusion as different theories are toted and sold as the ‘one and only’ truth.

When a huge two-hour documentary like Killing Lincoln appears on National Geographic, people sit up and listen. National Geographic carries a lot of clout. When I was involved with the King Tut exhibit several years ago, NatGeo was a partner in the project. Their name goes a long way.

As a researcher who was asked to comment on some of the content for Killing Lincoln , I hoped the ‘truth’ (as I saw it) would be presented. In some cases, it was. In other cases, the opinions of others won out. And sometimes, when the gap between historical versions was too far apart to trust, the production seemed to resort to presenting their own carefully considered interpretations.

So in the end, was the story accurate? In two words…..basically, yes. It was based on years of collective research from some of the most knowledgeable people in the business. It may not have been the whole truth, but Killing Lincoln gave the viewer a great starting point to begin doing their own research in hopes of finding the missing pieces.

I’m proud to have been asked to do my small part for the production and I hope that my input helped in some way. As a reward, National Geographic posted my name under ‘Special Thanks’ in the end credits. I didn’t ask for this so it meant a lot. It is my first National Geographic documentary creditation. Let’s hope that it is not my last. LOL.




PRESS RELEASE: Benjamin Franklin’s Suit Joins Smithsonian Collections

August 30, 2012

Barry Cauchon.

As many of you know, I have been privileged to work in the museum exhibit industry since 1996 as well as work independently with museums when doing my own research. These endeavors have given me a steady diet of what I love best; that of being involved with members of these institutions who are dedicated to sharing their unique stories and collections with the public. And although I have a fondness for working with small regional museums, the larger and more established institutions are where I spend most of my time. Earlier this year, the wonderful folks at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History allowed me and a few other research colleagues to go behind the scenes to view the hoods worn by some of the Lincoln Conspirator during their early incarceration aboard the Union Navy monitors USS Saugus and USS Montauk. The generosity of the Smithsonian management and their staff cannot be properly acknowledged here, but I do thank them all very much and will continue to each and every time I am invited behind the scenes to see, or talk, to experts.

So in turn, when an opportunity arises, I wish to do the same for you and share some of the cool information that I am privy to. For instance, on occasion, I receive Press Releases from the Smithsonian and other institutions which I think would really interest my readers.

Today, I received one from the Smithsonian announcing that they have now added  to their collection, a suit worn by Ben Franklin in 1778. To me, that is just such a cool thing. As I hear more from the Smithsonian or other museums, I’ll post them here.

Enjoy the article and as always, please support your local museums.




Press Release

August 29, 2012

Benjamin Franklin’s Suit Joins Smithsonian Collections

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is adding Benjamin Franklin’s three-piece silk suit, worn on his diplomatic trip to France in 1778 that resulted in the signing of the Treaty of Alliance, to its permanent collection. The suit had been on loan to the museum for conservation and research purposes from the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston.

The Society agreed to allow the museum to purchase the suit in order to ensure its long-term care as a national treasure. The purchase was made possible through the donation of Marilyn L. Brown and Douglas N. Morton and matching funds from the Charles Bremner Hogg Jackson Fund.

The suit, including a coat, waistcoat and breeches, is more than 230 years old and although it is structurally sound, the fabric’s dye is extremely fragile. The dye, originally a plum color, is turning into more of a light brown and conservators can see that it is puckering and flaking in places. The museum is developing a conservation plan based on research on these areas to determine how best to continue to preserve the suit.

A document accompanies the suit, written by Elkanah Watson, the man who donated it to the Massachusetts Historical Society in 1803. This letter, half printed and half written in Watson’s own hand, describes the night he acquired the suit. The letter relates a story that in 1781, Watson commissioned a Mrs. Wright, a sculptor and somewhat eccentric character, to create a wax likeness of Franklin. When Watson and Wright dined with the diplomat in Paris, Wright suggested that the likeness needed a suit, to which Franklin responded by ringing for his servant and directing him to bring the one he had worn in 1778.

“There is no doubt this is a very important, iconic piece of clothing,” said Nancy Davis, a museum curator in the Division of Home and Community Life. “During a time of opulence at the French court, Franklin’s choice of clothing represented how he wanted to present America to the French: portraying honesty, directness and simple elegance. And this symbolizes the way Americans continue to represent themselves.”

The Treaty of Alliance, signed Feb. 6, 1778, was a defensive alliance between the United States and France against Great Britain during the American Revolutionary war. Franklin, along with several other diplomats, negotiated this relationship in a way that it would be influential in the war against the British. The French provided the newly formed United States with supplies, arms, ammunition, uniforms and navy and troop support.

In a collection of Watson’s memoirs, Franklin is described as having the full respect of the French people and of being “treated with an esteem similar to the French nobility.” He was recognized and revered across France, and Watson held him in high regard as well.

The Franklin suit has been on limited display in the museum due to its fragility. It was first shown in an exhibition called “Growth of the U.S.” that closed in 1974. It did not go on view again until the tricentennial of Franklin’s birth in 2006. And its most recent display was as part of the opening of “American Stories” in April 2012. There are no immediate plans for future display.

The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. To learn more about the museum, visit http://americanhistory.si.edu. For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.





Published in: on Friday, August 31, 2012 at '11:22 am'  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

BOUND FOR GLORY by Angela Smythe

May 10, 2012: Barry Cauchon

Another year has passed since researcher Angela Smythe published her latest findings here on John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays. In true tradition, she is back again with her most intricate look at the man and the outfit he joined in November of 1859. “Bound for Glory”, in conjunction with her other two previous works, “Has He Been Hiding in Plain Sight” (published May 10, 2010) and “Out of Hiding” (published May 10, 2011) should be combined into one fine book . . . at least that is what I keep telling Angela. Perhaps one day soon … if we are lucky! I am very proud of her and the work she has generated since she first started this project over three years ago. Way to go Angela! Keep it up…and may we see more in the future!





(click BOUND FOR GLORY above to link to the article)

by Angela Smythe


This article is the third in the continuing series on John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays. The earlier companion pieces, Has He Been Hiding in Plain Sight – John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays (May 2010) and Out of Hiding – John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays (May 2011) , both examined period militia images, searching for the group militia picture that Asia Booth Clarke saw which contained her brother:

“He (John Wilkes Booth) left Richmond and unsought enrolled himself as one of the party going to search for and capture John Brown…and I have been shown a picture of himself and others in their scout and sentinel dresses” (Clarke, Asia Booth, The Unlocked Book; A Memoir of John Wilkes Booth by his Sister, New York, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1938, pg. 111-112).

“Bound For Glory” is a different search for yet another picture, the true picture of just how Asia’s brother “unsought enrolled himself” on the evening of November 19, 1859. Among the many men who sought to volunteer that night, John Wilkes Booth alone was allowed to join his adopted “Band of Brothers,” the Richmond Grays, when they accompanied Governor Henry A. Wise on a special military train, deployed to the anticipated seat of war at Charlestown.

Bound for Glory:

  • Reconstructs that night’s events using period sources
  • Presents additional information on John Wilkes Booth’s association with the Richmond Grays
  • Examines the overlooked recollection by Richmond Gray John O. Taylor, which
    • Correctly chronicles how John Wilkes Booth boarded the military train that evening,
    • Clarifies previously known facts about that event found in other, more frequently cited, recollections, and provides a complete and comprehensive picture of the November 19, 1859 journey to Charlestown.


and I hope you enjoy the ride….

To see all three articles and much, much more, go to AntebellumRichmond.com.





Titanic II – Australian Billionaire to build Full-Scale Titanic Cruise Ship

April 30, 2012: Barry Cauchon

Hi all: I just came across this interesting article from The Associated Press on Titanic. In short, the man (Clive Palmer) wants to recreate the Titanic as an actual working luxury cruise ship with all the lavish trimmings for a niche cruise ship market. With the fascination about Titanic, his venture just might work! However, like any venture associated with a disaster like the Titanic, one has to remember that over 1500 people lost their lives on the original ship and countless others suffered for the rest of their lives from their losses.

As always, I do not use my blog for my own personal soap box but I am always fascinated with your comments on the subject. So tell me what you think and I’ll be happy to post your thoughts. Debate is good but don’t make it personal and we’ll see what people have to say.




High-tech, full-size version of ship to be ready for 2016 maiden voyage

The Associated Press

Posted: Apr 30, 2012 7:08 AM ET

Last Updated: Apr 30, 2012 7:21 AM ET

An Australian billionaire said Monday he’ll build a high-tech replica of the Titanic at a Chinese shipyard and its maiden voyage in late 2016 will be from England to New York, just like its namesake planned.

Weeks after the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the original Titanic, Clive Palmer announced Monday he has signed a memorandum of understanding with state-owned Chinese company CSC Jinling Shipyard to build the Titanic II.

“It will be every bit as luxurious as the original Titanic, but … will have state-of-the-art 21st-century technology and the latest navigation and safety systems,” Palmer said in a statement.

He called the project “a tribute to the spirit of the men and women who worked on the original Titanic.”

More than 1,500 people died after the Titanic hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic on its first voyage. It was the world’s largest and most luxurious ocean liner at the time.

Real estate, coal mining

Palmer built a fortune on real estate on Australia’s Gold Coast tourist strip before becoming a coal mining magnate. BRW magazine reported he was Australia’s fifth-richest person last year with more than 5 billion Australian dollars ($5.2 billion).

Palmer said at a news conference that previous attempts to build a Titanic replica failed because proponents failed to raise enough money and commission a shipyard. The Titanic II is the first of four luxury cruise ships Palmer has commissioned CSC Jinling Shipyard to build.

Palmer did not provide a cost estimate. He said he had established a new shipping company, Blue Star Line Pty. Ltd., and that design work for the Titanic II has begun with assistance from a historical research team.

The diesel-powered ship will have four smoke stacks like the coal-powered original, but they will be purely decorative.

The most obvious changes from the original Titanic would be below the water line, including welding rather than rivets, a bulbous bow for greater fuel efficiency and enlarged rudder and bow thrusters for increased manoeuvrability, Palmer said.

‘Many will embrace it’

Brett Jardine, general manager for Australia and New Zealand in the industry group International Cruise Council, said Titanic II would be small by modern standards but could prove viable at the top end of the luxury market.

“From a marketing point of view, many will embrace it, and perhaps there’ll be some that wouldn’t,” Jardine said.

“If you’ve got a niche, it’s going to work. Why go out there and try to compete with the mass market products that are out there now?” he added.

While the Titanic II would carry around 1,680 passengers, most modern cruise ships create economies of scale by catering for more than 2,000 passengers, he said.

Among the world’s largest passenger ships, Allure of the Seas is 90 metres longer than the 270-meter Titanic and has 2,700 cabins.

© The Associated Press, 2012





Published in: on Monday, April 30, 2012 at '12:20 pm'  Comments (8)  
Tags: , , , , ,

Thank you to all who shared their Titanic stories with me

April 15, 2012: Barry Cauchon

Hi all: I just want to thank everyone who shared their thoughts on commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Titanic tragedy. Many of you used the information I posted in “What Time Did the RMS Titanic Really Hit the Iceberg?” to know the exact moment that the ship hit the iceberg and sank (in 2012 time).

For those of you who shared your thoughts with me both here on the blog, and in private emails, I can genuinely tell you that I was touched. Small gatherings, quiet memorials, lighting candles, prayers and moments of silence were just some of the ways you folks commemorated and remembered the victims of the Titanic. In a world where we become desensitized to death and destruction, it gives me great peace in my heart to know that so many of you still care about people.

I’m glad I could help in my own small way.



PS: Thanks Jen for helping me remember the importance of human kindness and caring.


Published in: on Sunday, April 15, 2012 at '8:00 pm'  Comments (3)  
Tags: , ,

147th Anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination (April 14, 1865)

April 14, 2012: Barry Cauchon

Like the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, tonight marks the 147th anniversary of the shooting of Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. The time was 10:15 pm EST. Tonight, if you are in the Eastern Time Zone under Daylight Savings Time, if you wish to accurately commemorate the moment, you would do this at 11:15 pm EDT.

The President would live throughout the night but die at 7:22 am the following morning on Saturday, April 15. This can be commemorated at 8:22 am EDT.

In three years (2015), it will be the 150th anniversary of the assassination.



Published in: on Saturday, April 14, 2012 at '8:55 pm'  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

What Time Did the RMS Titanic Really Hit the Iceberg?

April 03, 2012: Barry Cauchon

The triple screws of the RMS Titanic

The triple screws of the RMS Titanic

As the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic approaches, I thought I’d republish an article I wrote back on April 18, 2009. I’ve updated the introduction and clarified some points, but the rest remains intact and is still relevant today. Enjoy. Barry

PS: I have added a TIME ZONE chart at the bottom of this article for people in the United States wishing to commemorate the exact time the Titanic hit the iceberg and sank (for your time zone today).


April 14 & 15 marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. If you are like me, I enjoy thinking about events like this in ‘real time’. For instance, Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth at 10:15 pm EST (Eastern Standard Time) on April 14, 1865. I currently live in this same time zone so on every anniversary (April 14), originally between the hours of 10:00 pm and 10:30 pm, I would imagine the series of events that took place minute by minute. I’ve done this since I was a kid so please don’t assume that I’m certifiable (at least not just yet)! But a few years ago I realized that I had not factored in Daylight Savings Time. For you perfectionists, by considering Daylight Savings Time, the correct tim for these events actually should take place between 11:00 and 11:30 pm EDT.

In the sinking of the Titanic, a number of different factors come into play that mess up my little game so I thought I’d spend a few minutes explaining them to you (lol). The accepted facts about the sinking are this:

  1. The Titanic struck the iceberg at 11:40 pm on April 14, 1912.
  2. The Titanic sank 2 hours and 40 minutes later at 2:20 am on April 15, 1912.

Now here is where it gets tricky.

The times noted above were based on “shipboard” time (the actual time on the ship). Calculating time at sea does not follow conventional land-based time zones. This was certainly the case in 1912. But to truly know what the time difference was, relative to other time zones, requires whose version of the events you use. It has become a puzzle for many, but two main ‘time differences’ are generally considered.

The first is based on the testimony of Titanic’s Second Officer Charles Lightoller who put the time as being 1 hour, 33 minutes ahead of New York City time (Eastern Standard Time)(EST). The other is from Charles Bigham, known as “Lord Mersey” of the High Court of the British Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry. Bigham indicated that the time difference was 1 hour and 50 minutes ahead of EST. As many of us are not lucky enough to be in the middle of the North Atlantic when the anniversary is celebrated, here are the adjusted times for Eastern Standard Time using both calculations.

Lightoller’s Version (1 hour 33 minutes ahead of EST)(-5)

  1. The Titanic struck the iceberg at 10:07 pm (EST) on April 14, 1912.
  2. The Titanic sank 2 hours and 40 minutes later at 12:47 am (EST) on April 15, 1912.

Lord Mersey’s Version (1 hour 50 minutes ahead of EST)(-5)

  1. The Titanic struck the iceberg at 9:50 pm (EST) on April 14, 1912.
  2. The Titanic sank 2 hours and 40 minutes later at 12:30 am (EST) on April 15, 1912.

But wait, there is more! For the real perfectionists out there, what about Daylight Savings Time in the Eastern Time Zone (EDT)(Eastern Daylight Time)? Well Daylight Savings Time was not a factor in 1912 as it didn’t go into use in England, Germany and the United States until WWI. However, it is in effect today. So if you attempt to reenact the minute by minute events in real time by using the EST calculations listed above you will once again be incorrect. Assuming that you are in, let’s say New York City for example, during Daylight Savings Time (EDT), then these are the correct times to base your ‘real time’ reenactment.

Lightoller’s Version (33 minutes ahead of EDT)(-4)

  1. The Titanic struck the iceberg at 11:07 pm (EDT) on April 14, 2012.
  2. The Titanic sank 2 hours and 40 minutes later at 1:47 am (EDT) on April 15, 2012.

Lord Mersey’s Version (50 minutes ahead of EDT)(-4)

  1. The Titanic struck the iceberg at 10:50 pm (EDT) on April 14, 2012.
  2. The Titanic sank 2 hours and 40 minutes later at 1:30 am (EDT) on April 15, 2012.

Confusing! You bet! But if this kind of perfection turns your crank, then use this last set of calculations above to get as close to the truth (as we know it) as you can get.


On April 14, 1912 I struck the iceberg at 11:40 pm shipboard time and sank at on April 15, 1912 at 2:20 am shipboard time.

So the next time you think about the RMS Titanic on the evening of April 14 & 15 know what time it really struck the iceberg and when it sank based on the two options above.

Note: If you are not in the Eastern Time Zone (such as New York City) and want to know the Titanic times as listed in the last example for 2012 times, go to any Time Zone Map and calculate the difference in hours between your time zone and the Eastern Time Zone, then either add or subtract the difference to find the correct times. For instance, California (PDT) is three hours behind New York City. Don’t forget about Daylight Savings Time if applicable (in this case, it is).

Lightoller’s Version (3 hours, 33 minutes ahead of EDT)

  1. The Titanic struck the iceberg at 8:07 pm (PDT)(-7) on April 14, 2012.
  2. The Titanic sank 2 hours and 40 minutes later at 10:47 pm (PDT)(-7) on April 14, 2012.

Lord Mersey’s Version (3 hours, 50 minutes ahead of EDT)

  1. The Titanic struck the iceberg at 7:50 pm (PDT)(-7) on April 14, 2012.
  2. The Titanic sank 2 hours and 40 minutes later at 10:30 pm (PDT)(-7) on April 14, 2012.



These are the times in your time zone to commemorate the exact moments the Titanic struck the iceberg and sank.

LIGHTOLLER VERSION – TITANIC STRIKES ICEBERG at 10:07 PM EST ON APRIL 14, 1912 (11:40 pm shipboard time)


LIGHTOLLER VERSION – TITANIC SINKS at 12:47 AM EST ON APRIL 15, 1912 (2:20 am shipboard time)



LORD MERSEY VERSION – TITANIC STRIKES ICEBERG at 9:50 PM EST ON APRIL 14, 1912 (11:40 pm shipboard time)


LORD MERSEY VERSION – TITANIC SINKS at 12:30 AM EST ON APRIL 15, 1912 (2:20 am shipboard time)



800,000 hits – What’s Wrong with you People! lol

February 26, 2012

by Barry Cauchon


It is almost 5 months to the day since my last posting here…and another 100,000 people have viewed this site since then. What’s wrong with you people! LOL.

First of all, thank you for supporting A Little Touch of History. When I began writing this in May of 2008, I had not idea that people would be so interested in the topics I posted. But you have been and I am grateful.

Let me bring you up to date on what has been going on with me and try to explain my absence. First of all, real life work got very busy. I am a Senior Project Manager in the corporate, museum and touring exhibit industry. This can be a very demanding and time consuming job and when it gets busy, I need to focus on the work. So this has been the case recently.

Another reason why you have not seen a lot of new material here is because I was given a part in a play (my first real acting gig) and I dedicated myself to the challenge. The play was Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, which is the story of the Salem Witch hunts of the 1690s. I was given the role of Judge Hathorne and also understudied the role of Thomas Putnam. Last week, we completed our 8-show run that played before about 2200 people in all. It was a great experience and I am grateful for having been given such an opportunity to join this talented cast and crew.

That's me (lower left) playing Judge Hathorne in The Crucible. Photo by Alex Ragozzino.

Although I am quite comfortable speaking in front of a large crowd, performing as a character is far different. The process of taking the written words from a script and turning them into a final performance is long and laborious. But it is also so much fun. Our cast of 26 actors ranged in age from 11 to 71. For anyone who thinks acting is an easy thing to do, I can tell you now from experience that it is extremely hard work and takes a tremendous amount of dedication, training and practice to become good at it. Nonetheless, if you ever get the chance to do a play or other acting project, I encourage you strongly to try. The acting community is a tight knit group and the support is tremendous. You can only benefit from an experience like this. I know I did. So here’s to all the actors, the crews and the management that work so hard to entertain us. Be proud of your profession and thank you for sharing it with me.

Moving on to the subject of our book “Inside the Walls: The Final Days of the Lincoln Conspirators”, John Elliott and I had to put the writing portion of it on hold all last summer because of work commitments. We have started writing again as we prepare to speak at next month’s Surratt Society Lincoln Assassination Conference on March 17. Like last year, when we spoke at the conference, we are preparing a printed conference supplement, which is based on a chapter from our book. This year the supplement is called “Thirteen Days Aboard the Monitors: The Early Incarceration of the Conspirators, the Mug Shot Photo Sessions and the Truth about the Hoods”.

The content will cover the ironclad monitors U.S.S. Saugus and U.S.S Montauk and their involvement in the Lincoln conspirators’ early incarceration. We will then reveal new information on the Alexander Gardner photo sessions in which 26 well known ‘mug shots’ of the prisoners were taken. Many people believe that all 26 images were taken on one day only (as the official record indicates) while others believe a second photo session was performed. Our research has discovered that there were likely three photo sessions in all and we will spell out the dates, the evidence and the information that lead us to this plausible conclusion. Finally, we will describe in very simple terms the truth about the hoods that the prisoners were forced to wear during their time on the monitors and at the Washington Arsenal Penitentiary. Much misinformation has been published over the years about the hoods and this was our chance to clear up the matter. We also include information on the final hoods (or execution caps) that four of the conspirators wore when they were executed by hanging on July 7, 1865.

Leap-frogging from the conference, John and I should be back on track and pushing to complete our manuscript this year.

We look forward to sharing much more with you in the coming months. And I will endeavor to add more fresh content here on A Little Touch of History.

Thank you again for all your kind words and support.




Published in: on Sunday, February 26, 2012 at '3:00 pm'  Comments (4)  
Tags: , , , ,

700,000 … and the hits just keep on rolling

September 28, 2011. Barry Cauchon

700,000 hits and climbing!

Ed Isaacs has once again reminded me that this blog is supported by so many wonderful people. Last week, the visitor counter rolled over the 700,000 mark. Although my current workload had not allowed me to write very much over the last few months, you continue to visit and read the articles and interviews previously posted. Thank you for your continued support and interest in A Little Touch of History. It is been a pleasure bringing it to you.

By the way, if you have bought or rented a copy of The Conspirator, you can see Ed Isaacs talking about his great great grandfather, George E. Dixon and his diary, in the special features section of the DVD. Enjoy.

Edwin Isaacs holding the diary of his great great grandfather George E Dixon.




Published in: on Wednesday, September 28, 2011 at '9:08 am'  Comments (2)  
Tags: ,