Decapitating the Union: Jefferson Davis, Judah Benjamin and the Plot to Assassinate Lincoln.
Presented by the Ohio Civil War Round Table
This program is free to the public and anyone interested in the Civil War is heartily encouraged to attend this special treat. ACHS&M is not affiliated with this event, but would like to give all our members and followers a change to enjoy an evening of Civil War intrigue.
John Fazio, a lawyer from the Akron area, will review the evidence linking the Confederate Secret Service, as well as Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Secretary of State Judah Benjamin, to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the attempted decapitation of the Federal Government on April 14, 1865. Brian Schoen, associate professor of history, at Ohio University, will do a point-counterpoint exchange with Fazio for the last half hour of the meeting.
A brief overview of Fazio’s book on the subject will give some sense of the scope his talk: “The author rejects the simple conspiracy theory and affirms the Tidwell, Hall and Gaddy thesis of the complicity of the highest levels of the Confederate Government and its Secret Service Bureau, including the operatives in Canada, whose two-fold purpose was retribution and snatching independence from the jaws of a toothless and chaotic government. In between are chapters on the underground mosaic; Booth and his co-conspirators; the great kidnapping myth; the setting for assassination; conundrums, enigmas and mysteries relating to key players, i.e. Parker, Forbes and Cobb; carnage in the presidential box; Booth’s descent to the stage, declamations, broken leg, exit and escape; attempted decapitation of the government; the death of the President; Spangler’s innocence; and the pursuit of the fugitives and death of Booth.”
Though controversial today, Fazio’s thesis on the complicity of the Confederate government in the assassination was the generally accepted explanation in the North in 1865. If you have Unionist ancestors, this was probably their immediate belief in wake of the horrible news of April 14, 1865. Come listen to Fazio, on the eve of the 151st anniversary of the assassination, and make up your own mind about how narrow or deep was the conspiracy that led to the death of, as Walt Whitman put, “the sweetest, wisest soul of all my days and lands.”
Fazio will be speaking under the auspices of the Ohio Humanities Council, which is funding his appearance. He has made this same presentation to numerous Civil War Round Tables around the State of Ohio.