The Four Soldiers Beneath the Scaffold – The Lincoln Conspirator Executions

March 23, 2009: Barry Cauchon

Yesterday I received a great email from author, Mr. Frank Crawford who has written “PROUD TO SAY I AM A UNION SOLDIER (Heritage Books)”. Frank asked if I could give him more information about the four soldiers who stood beneath the scaffold and sprung the traps on the four Lincoln assassination conspirators. In particular, he was looking for the sources of the information that I had posted. Like Frank, I had initially found conflicting information on the names of these soldiers, so I really wanted to know as close to the truth as I could. Here is what I found out and how I came about that information. If you have any further information on this subject, please feel free to contribute. And please, state any sources that you get your information from. As always, history isn’t always straight forward and contradictory information is common. Enjoy the puzzle.

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The four soldiers responsible for springing the traps. William Coxshall (front left), Daniel E. Shoup, Joseph B. Haslett and George F. Taylor.

The four soldiers responsible for springing the traps. William Coxshall (front left), Daniel E. Shoup (rear left), Joseph B. Haslett and George F. Taylor. Other than Coxshall and Shoup, the other two soldiers in the photo have not been matched with their names.

I started researching this subject about three months ago when I was writing my series called “The Lincoln Conspirators Executions Photos: A Study in Detail” . Initially, the first names I found were published as follows:

Corporal William Coxshall
Private Joseph B. Hazlett
Private Daniel Sharpe
Private George F. Taylor

Two of these names (Hazlett and Sharpe) did not match other sources so I continued my search.

Although these men belonged to different regiments in the Union army during the war, at the time of the executions they all belonged to Company F, 14th Regiment, Veterans Reserve Corps. So my first step was to track down their military records. I searched the National Park Service Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System website at http://www.civilwar.nps.gov/cwss/index.html. There, under Company F, I found their names and ranks although some were slightly different. According the the site, the names and ranks were taken from General Index Cards from soldiers’ records found in the National Archives. Here is how the NPS listed the names and ranks below.

Private William Coxshall
Private Joseph B. Haslett (Hazlett, Hazlitt or Haslitt)(they list all three other versions)
Private Daniel Shoupe (or Shoup)
Private George F. Taylor (but there were also George S. and George W. in the same company).

Seeing these differences, I looked for further confirmation to pin down the names and ranks.

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My next stop was to speak with Roger Norton, the webmaster of the Abraham Lincoln Research Site. He mentioned that on page 471 of Michael Kauffman’s book American Brutus, the names of the four men were listed as follows:

William Coxshall
David F. Shoup
Frank B. Haslett
George F. Taylor

Kauffman’s source:  Coxshall identified the other three in a story in the Milwaukee Free Press, January 31, 1914.
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Roger Norton recommended speaking to the folks at the Surratt Society, where many Lincoln experts and researchers share information. Laurie Verge of the Surratt Society and the director of the Surratt House Museum www.surratt.org was extremely helpful and sent me the following information based on my inquiry.

“The title “The Prop-Knockers” kept ringing in my head, and I realized that the late, great James O. Hall had done a very brief article for our monthly newsletter many moons ago on the subject of the four veterans who stood under the gallows. It was carried in the September 1986 issue.

It does not give much biographical detail, and Mr. Hall cites Roger Hunt (another of our members who is great at finding people, especially their graves) as helping him.

Here’s what he listed in a half-page article:

Soldiers were: Corp. William Coxshall. Co. F., 14th Veterans Reserve Corps. Born in England on July 10, 1843, he died at Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, on April 21, 1922. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Beaver Dam.

Pvt. Daniel E. Shoup, Co. F., 14th Veterans Reserve Corps. He was born in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, on January 16, 1839, and he died at Connellsville, Pennsylvania, on February 22, 1913. He is buried in Hill Grove Cemetery, Connellsville.

Pvt. George F. Taylor, Co. F., 14th Veterans Reserve Corps. Born in West Gardiner, Maine, on August 11, 1835, he died at Farmingdale, Maine, on December 24, 1915. He is buried in Hallowell, Maine.

Corp. Joseph B. Haslett, Co. F., 14th Veterans Reserve Corps. He was born in Indiana, Pennsylvania, on July 27, 1841, and died at Reading, Pennsylvania, on February 16, 1916. He is buried in Reading at the Charles Evans Cemetery.

So far as is known, Coxshall’s recollections are the only ones recorded.

Dr. Steve Archer found this account in an obscure book about actors and the theater (I can’t remember the title at this moment) while researching his definitive biography on Junius Brutus Booth, father of John Wilkes Booth.

Laurie sent this information out to a number of Lincoln researchers and Steven G. Miller, who specializes in the hunt for John Wilkes Booth and the soldiers involved in that chase, wrote back.

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Steven G. Miller wrote: “The book Laurie referred to is: Harlow Randall Hoyt, TOWN HALL TONIGHT. (New York: Bramhall House, 1955)”.

Town Hall Tonight by Harlow R. Hoyt (c1955)

Town Hall Tonight by Harlow R. Hoyt (c1955)

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TOWN HALL TONIGHT is about the grassroots of American theater. The author, Harlow Randall Hoyt, was fascinated with theater and published the book in 1955. His work is still used as course material in many universities today. But the question as to why the article called “William Coxshall’s Recollections” is found in his book is strange and seemingly out of place.

Author Harlow Randall Hoyt included an article in his book Town Hall Tonight called William Coxshall Re

Author Harlow Randall Hoyt included an article in his book Town Hall Tonight called "William Coxshall's Recollections"

So I looked into it a little bit more and what I found out is really interesting. On the website http://www2.powercom.net/~dchs/Personalities.htm I discovered that Harlow Randall Hoyt was from Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. Lincoln researcher Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) also spent time in Beaver Dam. That in itself is a very interesting coincidence. And of course, the biggest coincidence of all is that William Coxshall (1843-1922) also lived in Beaver Dam and is buried there.

Lincoln expert Carl Sandburg spent time in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin which was the same town that Harlow Randall Hoyt and William Coxshall lived in.

Lincoln expert Carl Sandburg spent time in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin which was the same town that Harlow Hoyt and William Coxshall lived in.

So it is very likely that these men either crossed paths with each other in the early 1900s, or at least knew William Coxshall’s story from local sources.

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Michael Kauffman wrote me to confirm that two of the four men can be identified. Coxshall is front left and Shoup is rear left. Haslett and Taylor are both on the right but which one is which is still unknown. As well, the discrepency in rank is on my radar. According to the NPS records from the National Archives, all four men were Privates at the time of the executions. From the Gardner photos, none of the four seem to have stripes on their uniforms. Yet, two of the four are identified in the above research as Corporals. Could they have been promoted after the executions. It’s very possible.

If you find other sources for this information, please feel free to let me know. If I can, I’ll be happy to pass it along to the researchers who can see how well it fits into the current historical record.

Best
Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

Note: I want to thank Sandra Walia from the Surratt House Museum who also forwarded information to me which confirmed information in this article.

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LINCOLN AT GETTYSBURG PHOTOS DISCOVERED IN 2006

 

August 20, 2008: Barry Cauchon: Please note that this is an updated article from a previously published one dated July 24, 2008 under the title of “Lincoln Photos … Real, Fake or ‘Who Knows’!

Lincoln at Gettysburg – Images of President Lincoln may have been found in Alexander Gardner photos taken on November 19, 1863.

Two photos taken by Alexander Gardner on November 19, 1863 at the dedication ceremonies for Soldier’s Cemetery at Gettysburg were discovered to have images of what looks like Abraham Lincoln in the crowd.

Enhanced image from Alexander Gardiner photo of Gettysburg Dedication Ceremonies taken on Nov. 19, 1863. Is this Abraham Lincoln in the stovetop hat?

Enhanced image from Alexander Gardner photo of Gettysburg Dedication Ceremonies taken on Nov. 19, 1863. Is this Abraham Lincoln in the stove pipe hat?

In December, 2006, John Richter, the director for the Center for Civil War Photography was viewing images from a collection of over 5000 Civil War photos made available online to the public by the Library of Congress. Mr. Richter was focusing on a series of 3-D stereoscope images of the crowds at the Gettysburg Soldier’s Cemetery dedication ceremonies taken on the day that Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address.

“I noticed there were three negatives from the dedication that were taken close together,” he said. “That struck me as odd because of the difficulty and cost of taking pictures back then. I also noticed the camera was not pointed at the stand but more toward the right. I zoomed in, and that was when I saw this figure.”

In the distance, a tall bearded man wearing a stove pipe hat was spotted. The man is on horseback and is part of the procession leading to the stage.

One of the enhanced images shows Lincoln passing by a row of soldiers, and a second shows him saluting them while wearing white gloves. The third was not clear. In all three photos, he has his face partially turned away with his back to the camera.

Although there is not 100% proof that this is Lincoln, the series of photos was presented at the Lincoln Forum Conference at Gettysburg held in November, 2007. Harold Holzer, vice chairman of the forum and respected Lincoln author, historian and scholar, indicated that many experts, including himself, spoke highly of the photos and confirmed their belief that these are genuine pictures of Lincoln at Gettysburg taken a short time before his famous address.

Detractors argue that the person identified as Lincoln could actually be Ward Hill Lamon, Lincoln’s friend and self appointed bodyguard. He also wore a beard (and mustache) and favored wearing stove pipe hats. Lamon accompied Lincoln to the Gettysburg ceremonies that day and is photographed wearing his stovetop hat.

Ward Hill Lamon

Ward Hill Lamon (Lincoln's friend and self appointed bodyguard)

Up to this point, the only authenticated photo of Lincoln at Gettysburg was found by Josephine Cobb at the National Archives in Washington DC in 1952.

Ward Lamon Hill (with stovetop and beard) stands to the left of Lincoln in the only authenticated photo of Lincoln at Gettysburg.

Enhanced photo of Lincoln seated on stage in the only authenticated picture of Lincoln at Gettysburg. Ward Hill Lamon (with stovetop hat, beart and mustache) stands to the left of the president and is believed by some to be the man seen in the recent photos discovered in 2006. Although this adds to the possibly that the current photos are not of Lincoln, this author likes to believe that it is him!

So, is the figure that Mr. Richter found really Abraham Lincoln? Many want to believe that it is. What do you think?

If you go to the attached link from USA TODAY, they have done a wonderful job of posting the images. Use their ‘Pan and Zoom’ feature to examine the details of both photos. Kudo’s to the folks who put this together.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-11-15-gettysburg-images_N.htm

Library of Congress Images: The actual photographs, which belong to the public, can be seen at the Library of Congress Web site, lcweb2.loc.gov/pp/pphome.html. Enter “stereograph+civil war” in the search field.

Center for Civil War Photography: You can see the photos at the Center for Civil War Photography’s Web site, www.civilwarphotography.org.

Best

Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

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If you are interested in Abraham Lincoln, you should read these interviews by two Lincoln experts:

 

“An Awesometalk With” Harold Holzer, Lincoln Scholar

(posted on November 10, 2008) 

 

  “An Awesometalk With” Dr. Thomas Schwartz, Illinois State Historian 

(posted on December 08, 2008) 

 

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LINCOLN PHOTOS – REAL, FAKE OR ‘WHO KNOWS’!

NOTE: These two articles below have been updated on August 20, 2008.

July 24, 2008: Barry Cauchon:

1. What is the current thinking about the purported John Badger Bachelder photo of Lincoln in death? Is it genuine, an outright fake or still up for debate?

Unauthenticated photo of Lincoln after death, April 16,1865

Unauthenticated photo of Lincoln after death, reported to be taken in the White House on April 16,1865 by John B. Bachelder.

For those of you who are not familiar with this disputed photo, the controversial image was apparently taken at the White House on April 16, 1865, the day after Lincoln died.  
The photographer was John B. Bachelder who took the photo in low light conditions to use as a reference shot for making an engraving. Like many photos of the day, it was touched up by adding more hair to Lincoln’s chin.
John B. Bachelder and wife 1890

John B. Bachelder and wife 1890

You rarely see this image published in Lincoln-related documentation because it’s authenticity is highly in dispute. On the other hand, there are still some true believers. I assume the debate continues.
To date, there is only one photograph of Lincoln in death that is accepted as authentic.
It was taken while he was lying in state in NYC during the Funeral Train tour from Washington DC to Springfield, IL.
Authenticated photo of Lincoln in his casket taken by John Gurney, Jr. on April 24, 1865 in New York City

Authenticated photo of Lincoln in his casket taken by Jeremiah Gurney, Jr. on April 24, 1865 in New York City

The photo was taken by Jeremiah Gurney, Jr. on Monday, April 24, 1865 in the rotunda of New York’s City Hall while the president’s body was being prepared for public viewing. Lincoln historians have accepted this photo as genuine and is not in question.

Truth is sometimes hard to find, so the question still remains. Is the Bachelder photo genuine, an outright fake or still up for debate?

NOTE: As this is a ‘very hot topic’ on some websites, I would prefer that the battles be waged elsewhere. However, if you wish to add ‘your view’ without name calling, I’ll gladly post your comments. Debate is good but don’t get beligerent! It won’t be tolerated. Thank you.

  

 

2. Lincoln at Gettysburg – Images of President Lincoln may have been found in Alexander Gardner photos taken on November 19, 1863.

Two photos taken by Alexander Gardner on November 19, 1863 at the dedication ceremonies for Soldier’s Cemetery at Gettysburg were discovered to have images of what looks like Abraham Lincoln in the crowd.

Enhanced image from Alexander Gardiner photo of Gettysburg Dedication Ceremonies taken on Nov. 19, 1863. Is this Abraham Lincoln in the stovetop hat?

Enhanced image from Alexander Gardner photo of Gettysburg Dedication Ceremonies taken on Nov. 19, 1863. Is this Abraham Lincoln in the stovetop hat?

In December, 2006, John Richter, the director for the Center for Civil War Photography was viewing images from a collection of over 5000 Civil War photos made available online to the public by the Library of Congress. Mr. Richter was focusing on a series of 3-D stereoscope images of the crowds at the Gettysburg Soldier’s Cemetery dedication ceremonies taken on the day that Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address.

“I noticed there were three negatives from the dedication that were taken close together,” he said. “That struck me as odd because of the difficulty and cost of taking pictures back then. I also noticed the camera was not pointed at the stand but more toward the right. I zoomed in, and that was when I saw this figure.”

In the distance, a tall bearded man wearing a stovepipe hat was spotted. The man is on horseback and is part of the procession leading to the stage.

One of the enhanced images shows Lincoln passing by a row of soldiers, and a second shows him saluting them while wearing white gloves. The third was not clear. He has his face partially turned away with his back to the camera.

Although there is not 100% proof that this is Lincoln, the series of photos was presented at the Lincoln Forum Conference at Gettysburg held in November, 2007. Harold Holzer, vice chairman of the forum and respected Lincoln author and historian, indicated that many experts, including himself, spoke highly of the photos and confirmed their belief that these are genuine pictures of Lincoln at Gettysburg taken a short time before his famous address.

Detractors argue that the person identified as Lincoln could actually be Ward Hill Lamon, Lincoln’s friend and self appointed bodyguard. He also wore a beard and favored wearing stovepipe hats. Lamon accompied Lincoln to the Gettysburg ceremonies that day.

Ward Hill Lamon

Up to this point, the only authenticated photo of Lincoln at Gettysburg was found by Josephine Cobb at the National Archives in Washington DC in 1952.

Lincoln at Gettysburg

Enhanced photo of Lincoln on stage prior to giving Gettysburg Address.

So, is the figure that Mr. Richter found really Abraham Lincoln? Many want to believe that it is. What do you think?

If you go to the attached link from USA TODAY, they have done a wonderful job of posting the images. Use their ‘Pan and Zoom’ feature to examine the details of both photos. Kudo’s to the folks who put this together.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-11-15-gettysburg-images_N.htm

Library of Congress Images: The actual photographs, which belong to the public, can be seen at the Library of Congress Web site, lcweb2.loc.gov/pp/pphome.html. Enter “stereograph+civil war” in the search field.

Center for Civil War Photography: You can see the photos at the Center for Civil War Photography’s Web site, www.civilwarphotography.org.

Best

Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

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If you are interested in Abraham Lincoln, you should read these interviews by two Lincoln experts:

 

“An Awesometalk With” Harold Holzer, Lincoln Scholar

(posted on November 10, 2008) 

 

  “An Awesometalk With” Dr. Thomas Schwartz, Illinois State Historian 

(posted on December 08, 2008) 

 

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