John E. Bingham Abraham Lincoln assassination witness apparently nephew of John A. Bingham assistant to JAG in assassination trial, Letter to uncle revealed on Antique Roadshow episode of April 9, 2018 by granddaughter
“The greatness of Napoleon, Caesar or Washington is only
moonlight by the sun of Lincoln. His example is universal
and will last thousands of years….He was bigger than his
country—bigger than all the presidents together… and
as a great character he will live as long as the world
lives.”…Leo Tolstoy, 1909
Why this was not revealed before I do not know.
Maybe it was and it never hit the internet.
Perhaps John E. Bingham, witness to the Abraham Lincoln assassination chose to not talk about the horrible incident.
What is truly interesting is that it appears that John E. Bingham, a witness, was the nephew of John A. Bingham assistant to the Judge Advocate General in assassination trial.
Here is the text of the letter that John E. Bingham wrote to his uncle.
“Washington D.C. April 21, 1865
You must excuse my negligence in not writing oftener of late, but the excitement which has prevailed for the last week has totally incapacitated me for any kind of labor. Day after day passed and every day brought with it good news and a prospect of the speedy termination of the war. Our cup of happiness was filled to the brim, and nothing could exceed the excitement with which the news of the Surrender of Lee’s army was received.
Mr. Lincoln had been pressed on several occasions to make a speech and finally did, taking for his subject the future prospects of the Country — the reconstruction of the Union, &c. I was present and heard it although it was raining, and now when I think of it I can almost see him delivering his address. On last Friday, just one week ago, I was told that Grant & wife would accompany the President to the Theatre[.] I must confess that I never yet have seen Grant, and as I was anxious for a glimpse I accompanied a couple of friends to the theatre[.] Considering the object of our going we took greater pains in trying to get a full view of the box and its contents, than in getting a good position for witnessing the performance. At about half past eight the President entered accompanied by his wife, Miss Harris and Major Rathbone.
We were all very much disappointed on not seeing General Grant but we certainly had good cause to be thankful afterwards (“Harpers Weekly” contains a tolerable good description of the assassination, with the exception that the President and his wife occupied a different position and that the assassin fired with his left hand.) The assassination took place I think shortly after ten o’clock. Shortly after the shot was heard Booth sprang to the stage. As soon as he recovered himself he drew a large knife and shouted “sic semper tyrannis” the motto of Virginia. Looking up to a man seated near me, who afterwards proved an acquaintance, he said “I have done it.” By that time he had crossed the stage and partly turning he waved his dagger on high and shouted, “The South’s avenged!” This was the last we saw of him.
His face is impressed on my mind so strongly that I think I never will forget it. His eyes gleamed like fire, his skin almost white to transparency and his jet black hair waving in accordance with his motions. But to continue. After hearing the motto I thought that something serious had happened and I with the rest rushed to the box. Such a sight as I saw there was enough to touch the heart of a savage.
Mr. Lincoln was stretched on the floor with his head pillowed in the lap of Miss Laura Keene. His brains were slowly oozing out into her lap. Mrs. Lincoln was frantic, screaming “O my God! They have killed him, they have killed him!” He was taken to a house opposite where everything was done but to no avail. Hour after hour the crowd wailed and lingered thinking perhaps he might be spared, but when they were told “he is dead” they all turned away each to his home. Some crying, some praying but most of them cursing the wretch who took his life.
I never saw anything that would compare with the obsequies of last Wednesday. The procession was more than two hours passing, and I have heard it spoken of and do not doubt it myself that there were one hundred and fifty-thousand people in the Avenue and fifteenth street. I am exceedingly sorry to hear of Jim Caruthers’ death, and sympathize with Pheobe Jinnci [?] & all.
The weather here is exceedingly pleasant. You can rest assured that Todd is safe. None but Cavalry were engaged in that fight.
Your loving nephew
J. E. Bingham”
Read more and watch the segment:
The Trial of the Lincoln Assassination Conspirators: An Account
“On May 1, 1865, President Johnson issued an order that the alleged conspirators be tried before a nine-person military commission. Some, such as former Attorney General Bates, complained bitterly: “If the offenders are done to death by that tribunal, however truly guilty, they will pass for martyrs with half the world.”
The Military Commission convened for the first time on May 8 in a newly-created courtroom on the third floor of the Old Arsenal Penitentiary in Washington. The voting members of the Commission were Generals David Hunter (first officer), August Kautz, Albion Howe, James Ekin, David Clendenin, Lewis Wallace, Robert Foster, T. M. Harris, and Colonel C. H Tomkins. Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt served in the problematic dual roles of chief prosecutor and legal advisor to the Commission. John A. Bingham (later an influential member of Congress) served on the Commission as Special Judge Advocates and handled examination of witnesses and gave the government’s summation. H. L. Burnett was the third member of the prosecution team.”
“One of the most frightening plots–called by Special Judge Advocate (prosecutor) John A. Bingham “an infamous and fiendish project of importing pestilence”–hatched by the Confederate Secret Service working out of Canada was believed at the time to have been the cause of 2,000 military and civilian deaths. ”
The apparent connection between John E. Bingham and John A. Bingham.
From Each Story Told.
“The Antique Roadshow episode took place in Portland, Oregon.
An obituary was found for a John Ernest Bingham in the Portland area and it matches the birth year age of John E. Bingham.”
“The John A. Bingham in question was a minister to Japan and uncle to John Ernest Bingham.
If this is true, why have we heard nothing about it?”