Booth in the Confederate Secret Service

By John C. Fazio
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2012, All Rights Reserved

John Wilkes Booth was an agent of the Confederate Secret Service. It is not known, and may never be known, when or exactly under what circumstances he was recruited and accepted his role as such, but that he was an agent and was in regular contact with other agents, who had ties to the Confederate leadership, or who had ties to other agents who had such ties, has been firmly established. Asia Booth described her brother as “a spy, a blockade-runner, a rebel!”1

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Lincoln and History

By John C. Fazio
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2007, All Rights Reserved

I am of the opinion that major historical events, and some minor ones too, occur only in the fullness of time, which is to say that they occur only when conditions are ripe for their happening. Attempts to accomplish them in non-conducive circumstances, or at inappropriate times, will fail. Examples are endless and superfluous, but I shall give one because it is especially relevant to our area of interest.

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On Inconvenient Truth and Convenient Fiction

By John C. Fazio
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2016, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: John C. Fazio is a past president of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable and the author of numerous articles on the Lincoln assassination as well as the book, Decapitating the Union: Jefferson Davis, Judah Benjamin and the Plot to Assassinate Lincoln, published in 2015 by McFarland.


Truth, like a bastard, comes into the world, never without ill-fame to him who gives her birth. – Thomas Hardy

All great truths begin as blasphemies. – George Bernard Shaw

Shall truth be first or second with us? “Us” is we historians, real or fancied, amateur or professional. Lincoln said that history isn’t history unless it is the truth. I agree with that, to which I would add only “or some reasonable facsimile thereof arrived at conscientiously and with due diligence.” Therefore, if truth is to be second with us, second, that is, to convenience, aka political correctness or some other approximation of comfort, then I suggest that we are in the wrong business and that we should find some other vocation or avocation, one that doesn’t tax our character so meanly.

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The Fox and the Hedgehog: The Hampton Roads Conference

By Mel Maurer
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2008, All Rights Reserved

Just east of Petersburg, Virginia – near the rim of “The Crater” on Sunday, January 29, 1865 – a white flag appeared on the Confederate side of the lines. A delegation of commissioners from Jefferson Davis (Alexander Stephens, vice president of the Confederacy, John A. Campbell, a former U. S. Supreme Court Justice – now assistant secretary of war, and Robert Hunter, president pro tem of the Senate) had arrived to be taken to a meeting with Union representatives to discuss “issues and options for peace.” Hopeful rumors the war was ending soon circulated on both sides of the lines. The ensuing meeting on February 3rd aboard the steamer River Queen became known as the Hampton Roads Conference.

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Abraham Lincoln and the Case of the Altered Almanac

By Mel Maurer
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2006, All Rights Reserved

Abraham Lincoln an unscrupulous lawyer? That was one of the charges made against him in his senatorial race against Steven Douglas and later again in his run for the presidency. Lincoln, so it was claimed, had altered the almanac used so successfully in his most famous trial – a murder trial in 1858. It was a serious charge against anyone but especially against a man well-known for his integrity.

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“The Prince of Rails”: Robert Todd Lincoln

By Mel Maurer
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2004, All Rights Reserved

Robert Todd Lincoln – “Bob” to his family and friends – was dubbed the “Prince of Rails” during his “Railsplitter” father’s 1860 campaign for president, after a visit to this country by England’s Prince of Wales. Robert was a prince who would never ascend to the throne.

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Abraham Lincoln: There’s Nothing Trivial About Him

By Mel Maurer
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2003, All Rights Reserved

This April (2003) marks the 138th anniversary of the assassination of our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln. Here are some random facts and figures in the life of this great American guaranteed to tell you something about him you didn’t know before.


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I Escaped with John Wilkes Booth

By Mel Maurer
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2007, All Rights Reserved

I escaped with John Wilkes Booth – a bit of an exaggeration since he escaped from Washington, DC – after assassinating President Lincoln – in 1865 and I did it in 2006, along with my son Rick and grandson Eric, as we took the “John Wilkes Booth Escape Route Tour” sponsored by the Surratt Society in Clinton, Maryland. Booth escaped on a rented horse – we escaped on a leased Greyhound.

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Lincoln at Gettysburg

By Mel Maurer
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2006, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: The article below is the transcript of a speech given by the author to the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable on the occasion of its 50th anniversary in November 2006.


I’m honored to speak tonight on this our 50th – or what Lincoln might call our two score and ten – anniversary. I appreciate the work of our founders and all those, like you, who have made our Roundtable so great.

My topic tonight is Abraham Lincoln and the “few appropriate remarks” he was asked to give at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania – to dedicate a cemetery November 19, 1863. I hope to give you some insights into our 16th president, dispel some myths about his Gettysburg talk and to touch on its historical importance.

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Notes On the 2012 Lincoln Forum

By Mel Maurer
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2013, All Rights Reserved

Editor’s note: The Lincoln Forum (www.thelincolnforum.org) is an organization that “endeavors to enhance the understanding and preserve the memory of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War.” Founded in 1995, the Forum meets each year in Gettysburg, PA, on the anniversary of Lincoln’s address at the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery. Several members of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable are also members of the Lincoln Forum and attend its meeting each year. CCWRT past president and Lincoln Forum member Mel Maurer once again agreed to our request to provide a recap of this year’s event. (Read Mel’s reports on the 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 Forums.)


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