April 21, 2009: Barry Cauchon
This afternoon I was having a nice discussion with Laurie Verge, the Director of the Surratt House Museum, when she told me about a recent visit the museum had by a large group of Lincolns, Mary Todd Lincolns and one General Ulysses S. Grant. I couldn’t picture this humorous event so I ask her if she could send me a picture. She did one better, Laurie directed me to Abraham Lincoln Online where she posted the following story. As well, the photos were all posted on Flickr http://flickr.com/gp/pgparks/03YE97 of which some are reproduced here. All photos were taken by Cassi Hayden/M-NCPPC.
Laurie was kind enough to allow me to reprint her article and some of the photos. Thanks Laurie. I enjoyed them a lot.
Mr. Lincoln in Enemy Territory? by Laurie Verge
After 144 years, has all been forgiven?
Today, April 17, 2009, fifty Mr. Lincoln presenters, several Mrs. Lincolns, and one General Grant, ventured into the heart of Southern Maryland, a hot bed of Confederate sympathies and espionage activities during the Civil War. Their target? A visit to historic Surratt House Museum, where guns, ammunition, and other supplies had been hidden in March of 1865 as part of an aborted kidnap plot against the president. These items ultimately brought Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth, to the home within two hours of shooting Mr. Lincoln on April 14, 1865 – resulting ultimately in the arrest, trial, and execution of Mary Elizabeth Surratt and bringing about one of history’s mysteries: Did the lady deserve to die?
The Lincoln presenters are holding their annual convention at the Colony South Hotel in Clinton, (once Surrattsville) Maryland, just down the road from Surratt House. Costumed guides at the museum were quick to point out that, in 1860, Mr. Lincoln earned only one vote in the county. He did a little better in 1864. Throughout the war, Surratt House served as a stop on the Confederate underground route that ran from the Potomac River to the Union capital.
Today, both sides were very friendly; and the entourage of Brady photographers that followed the presidents all day captured many memorable pictures – including a group photo posed at the front door that stopped rush hour traffic on the road that runs past the museum.
Laurie Verge, Surratt House Museum
Photos by Cassi Hayden