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Lincoln Assassination Papers: Some Surprises

Witnesses ranged from Augustus Seward to prostitutes, rebels and biological warfare.

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Prostitutes, St. Albans Raid and Yellow Fever

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While working through the Lincoln Assassination Papers (M599), I noticed some interesting witnesses and testimonies. Besides the accounts of conditions in the Southern prisoner of war camps (see separate Story Page), which may have been called for to justify any future action taken against Southern conspirators, is the seemingly irrelevant testimony given by Nellie Starr whose residence was a local house of prostitution. Her connection to the trial was John Wilkes Booth.

Two others who were brought into the trial were Bennett Young and George Sanders. These Confederate soldiers were instrumental in the raid on St Albans, VT, on 19 Oct 1864. Gathering like-minded associates in Canada, they proposed to present a second front during the rebellion and to provide a means of building up the Confederate treasury by staging raids in New England states. On 19 October 1864, they staged 3 bank robberies simultaneously in the town of St Albans, only 15 miles south of the Canadian border, and proclaimed that the city was then a possession of the Confederate States of America. You can access references to this raid by searching for "St Albans" or the names of Young and Sanders within the Lincoln Assassination Papers on Footnote.

And if you think the idea of biological warfare is relatively new, search for "yellow fever" or "Newbern" in the Papers. You may be surprised!

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