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)  
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Inside the Walls: The Final Days of the Lincoln Conspirators Book Update 29-Dec-2010

Barry Cauchon: December 29, 2010:

Hi all: I want to update you on the progress of John Elliott and my book “Inside the Walls: The Final Days of the Lincoln Conspirators”, but first, a little business to attend to.

First of all, thanks to everyone who has complimented me about my blog. Although I haven’t had much opportunity to write recently, it is very rewarding to know that you are enjoying the content that is here.  And thank you for understanding why I’ve restricted access to the 15-chapters on the Lincoln Conspirators Execution Photos: A Study in Detail. This is the precursor to our book and some of the content no longer is valid. So for now, I need to keep it inaccessible until the book is released and the content updated.

Secondly, thanks to everyone who has signed up for the Inside the Walls Book Update List. The list grows everyday and we are so happy that you are anxiously, and patiently, waiting for it. If you want to be on the list and have not signed up yet, please email me at outreach@awesometalks.com, write “BOOK” in the subject line and leave your email (and name if you like). I will add you to the list. The last update was sent out in October, 2010 so if you are on the list already and haven’t heard from us, you have not missed anything.

Finally, thanks to the folks who have visited and joined us as friends on our Facebook page “Inside the Walls”.  We love hearing from you. To get there easily, go to the top of my home page and click on the Facebook link at the upper right hand side.


1. When will the book be released? John and I had hoped to have it ready and published by March, 2011 but that is not going to happen. We both have run into busy ‘real work’ situations and our paying jobs have taken center stage. Our new anticipated release date is now sometime this summer 2011. We are going to self-publish the first edition and then see how it goes after that.

2. Are you planning on releasing any of your research before the book comes out? As a matter of fact, YES! John and I have been invited to speak on March 19, 2011 at the Surratt Society & Surratt House Museum’s 2011 Conference – Lincoln Assassination: New Perspectives. We will present our research publicly for the first time on that date. For more information on the conference, please follow this link: http://www.surratt.org/conference/2011/conf2011.html

3. Is there anything we can see regarding your presentation or the book’s content? As part of our conference offering, we are planning to produce a printed supplement (specifically made for the conference) which will both highlight our live presentation and give a very good synopsis of the content in our upcoming book. Although details are not completed yet, it is very likely that we will offer it to the public after the conference. Costs and other details are still pending.

4. Have you had good support from the Lincoln Assassination Research community regarding your book? John and I are overwhelmed by the great support we’ve had from fellow researchers, authors, supporters, friends and others. The book will not only include our own research but will have written articles by Steven G. Miller and Dr. Blaine Houmes (who are both speaking at the Surratt Society Conference this year). As well, we have been given some amazing photographs and research specifically related to our subject. I won’t name names at this time for fear that I will forget someone, but there have been many and we can’t thank them enough (but certainly will in the book).

5. Have you received any endorsements yet? Yes we have. I believe we have 5 or 6 to date. I can also confirm that our Forward has been written by Frank J. Williams, Chief Justice (Ret.) of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island; Former Chief Judge of the United States Court of Military Commission Review for Appeals for those detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; and the Chairman of the Lincoln Forum. Not bad, eh!

6. Who designed the cover? John and I worked through numerous versions of the cover design until we decided upon the one above. The initial concept was John’s and I did the final graphic layout for it. The photo on the cover shows a brick wall with a ghosted image of a prisoner’s wrists restrained in Lilly Irons (sometimes called Lilly Bars). The photograph of the bricks is from the wall that surrounds Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington D.C.  Fort McNair is the site of the former Arsenal Penitentiary where the conspirators were incarcerated, tried and for some, hanged. When the penitentiary was demolished in 1867, these bricks were stored and later reused to build the wall that currently surrounds the site.

The image of the Lilly Irons is taken from an Alexander Gardner photograph of conspirator Edman Spangler, who was held at the penitentiary.

The main idea of the cover design was to give you a sense that something ominous was occurring behind, or Inside the Walls, inducing the reader to investigate further.

7. How is the book laid out? Assuming we don’t change our direction at this late date, the book is broken up into several parts. Part I is the back story. Part II covers an in-depth look at the Arsenal Penitentiary and some of the events that occurred there right up to the morning of the executions on July 7, 1865. It will also feature the events and stories (some surprising) told by the people who witnessed them. As well, the chapters in Part II will analyze the architecture, the cells and prisoner locations, and some of the people themselves. Part III will cover the executions of the four condemned conspirators including a detailed forensic analysis of the Alexander Gardner execution photographs. The book will end with the stories of the fates of the remaining four conspirators and other ‘persons of interest’.

We are excited to share our work and are working hard to complete it for you.




An Awesometalk With STEVEN G. MILLER, expert on the hunt for John Wilkes Booth

August 01, 2010: Barry Cauchon

Steven G. Miller, expert on the hunt for John Wilkes Booth

An Awesometalk With Steven G. Miller

Duration: 42:28

Steven G. Miller knows more about the hunt for John Wilkes Booth and the men who participated in it than most people in the world. He has been researching the subject for thirty years. However, if you try to call him an expert in the subject he frowns upon the title. There is just too much more to learn so an expert, he says, he is not!

Despite Steven’s objections, many of us believe that he is an expert and the best person to talk to regarding the hunt for John Wilkes Booth and what really happened in his final hours.

Steven is a gifted researcher, writer and historian. He has written numerous articles for magazines and periodicals and has one unpublished book about the eyewitness accounts taken from the Garrett farm the night John Wilkes Booth was captured and killed..

I’ve known Steve for about two years and he always has something amazing to share. He’s also a pretty humorous guy with a really dry wit.

Steve will be speaking for the sixth time at the Surratt Society Assassination Conference in Clinton, MD next March 19, 2011. For more details, go to the Surratt Society website at: www.surratt.org.