John Wilkes Booth as an Confederate Secret Service Agent

John Wilkes Booth

John Wilkes Booth

Many are familiar with the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln, in the Ford Theater on April 15, 1865 at the Ford Theater in Washington, D.C.  The murder was carried out by John Wilkes Booth, an actor who often appeared in plays at the Ford Theater, however John Wilkes Booth lived a double life, as a part time actor and a full time Secret Agent in the Confederate Secret Service (CSS.)  Booth had been a southern sympathizers and believed greatly in succession. He saw the Confederate Secret Service as a way to serve his country valiantly.

The Confederate Secret Service was a network of spies that were employed by a secret Confederate Organization, that was controlled in part by the Confederate Government. The Confederate Secret Service had agents in the U.S and in Europe that gathered intel and passed secret messages from inside the Union government back to the Confederate Government in Richmond, Virginia.

Confederate Spy Photography

Confederate Spy Photography

Initially, Booth and other agents conspired to kidnap President Lincoln and hold him hostage until various demands were met that benefited the Confederate cause. The plans for the abduction eventually yielded to a plan to bomb the white house during an important event, but that plan was foiled. Finally the plan for Booth to shoot Lincoln in the back of the head during a play would be the  go to plan for the assassination of Lincoln. The Confederate Secret Service believed that without Lincoln the Union would fall into unrest and panic would ensue, making it possible for the Confederacy to overtake Washington, D.C and put together a counter attack to re-win the war.

St. Lawrence Hall, Montreal, Quebec, where Booth met members of the Confederate Secret Service, between 1865 and 1870.

St. Lawrence Hall, Montreal, Quebec, where Booth met members of the Confederate Secret Service, between 1865 and 1870.

The service deemed it would be the easiest because Booth was well known at the theater and had access to everywhere as an actor.

After the shooting, Booth fled along with another accomplice. Using a network of  southern sympathizers and Service Agents, Booth was able to evade the authorities. However, a group of soldiers caught up to him and trapped him inside of a barn, where they eventually lit it on fire and shot Booth, ending the manhunt for one of America’s most infamous fugitives, and the Confederacy’s best secret Agent.

Old Capital Prison- Washington, in the early days of the war

Old Capital Prison- Washington, in the early days of the war

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