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 ( 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.




May 22, 2009: Barry Cauchon
I received a comment from “Nick” about an article I posted here called The Lincoln Memorial: Construction & Dedication Photographs. He noticed that one of the photos included did not seem correct and wanted to verify whether the image in the photo was, in fact, the Lincoln Memorial. Well, thanks to Nick’s persistence, he convinced me to take a closer look at the photograph. Sure enough, it was NOT the Lincoln Memorial but rather a photograph of the early construction of the Arlington Memorial Amphitheater which is part of the Tomb of the Unknowns (originally called the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier).
As this is the Memorial Day weekend and a very important time to remember our fallen troops and soldiers, I wanted to post this photo as well as post the Visitor Information about the Arlington Memorial Amphitheater found on the Arlington National Cemetery web site.
It is important to remember our fallen heroes. On this Memorial Day weekend, take a moment to think about them and their families and what they’ve given for their country.
Thank you.
The inner structure of the memorial rises (c1916)

A photograph of the early stages of construction of the Arlington Memorial Amphitheater located at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.



Memorial Day event at the Arlington Memorial Amphitheater in May, 1943.

Memorial Day ceremonies at the Arlington Memorial Amphitheater in May, 1943.


Visitor Information

The Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery

front_theater_tn The Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., was dedicated on May 15, 1920. While many ceremonies are conducted throughout the country, many consider the services at Arlington’s Memorial Amphitheater to be the nation’s official ceremonies to honor all American service members who serve to keep the United States free.

About 5,000 visitors attend each of the three major annual memorial services in the Amphitheater. They take place Easter, Memorial Day and Veterans Day and are sponsored by the U.S. Army Military District of Washington. The Easter Sunrise Service begins at 6 a.m. Memorial Day and Veterans Day services always begin at 11 a.m. Many military organizations also conduct annual memorial services in the amphitheater.

The Memorial Amphitheater was the dream of Judge Ivory G. Kimball, who wished to have a place to assemble and honor the American defenders.

Because of Kimball’s campaign, Congress authorized its construction March 4, 1913. Judge Kimball participated in the ground-breaking ceremony March 1, 1915, but did not live to see his dream completed. Ivory Kimball died May 15, 1916, and was buried in Section 3 of the cemetery, near the Memorial Amphitheater he campaigned to build. President Woodrow Wilson placed its cornerstone Oct. 15, 1915.

back_theater_tn One copy of the following items is sealed inside the box placed in the cornerstone that day:

  • The Bible
  • The Declaration of Independence
  • The U.S. Constitution
  • U.S. Flag (1915)
  • Designs and plans for the amphitheater
  • L’Enfant’s map design of the city of Washington, D.C.
  • Autograph of the amphitheater commission
  • One of each U.S. coin in use in 1915
  • One of each U.S. postage stamp in use in 1915
  • 1914 map of Washington, D.C.
  • The Congressional Directory
  • Boyd’s City Directory for the District of Columbia
  • Autographed photo of President Woodrow Wilson
  • The cornerstone dedication program
  • The Evening Star newspaper account of the ceremonies, and the campaign to build the Amphitheater

left_theater_tn The Amphitheater is constructed mainly of Vermont-quarried Danby marble. The marble in the Memorial Display Room is imported Botticino, a stone mined in Italy. The Memorial Display Room, between the amphitheater and the Tomb of the Unknowns, houses plaques and other tributes presented in honor of the four service members interred at the Tomb of the Unknowns (first known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier). A small chapel is beneath the Amphitheater stage.

The names of 44 U.S. battles from the American Revolution through the Spanish-American War are inscribed around the frieze above the colonnade. The names of 14 U.S. Army generals and 14 U.S. Navy admirals prior to World War I are inscribed on each side of the amphitheater stage.

right_theater_tn “When we assumed the soldier we did not lay aside the citizen,” from then-Gen. George Washington’s June 26, 1775, letter to the Provincial Congress is inscribed inside the apse. “We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain,” from President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is inscribed above the stage.

“DULCE ET DECORUM EST PRO PATRIA MORI,”a quote from Horace’s Ode III, 2, 13 is etched above the west entrance of the Memorial Amphitheater. Translated from the Latin: “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.”