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.
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.