CONGER: NORTH AND SOUTH

Everton J. Conger gazed thoughtfully into the blue Montana sky. It was April 26, 1910–the day after his 76th birthday–and the day was spent with a reporter anxious to mine Conger’s memories of the same day 45 years prior. On April 26, 1865 John Wilkes Booth was captured, and the murder of Abraham Lincoln avenged. Fate chose Conger as one of 27 men who had witnessed the expiation of Booth’s crime.“The aged man leaned forward upon his hand and was silent for several minutes,” the reporter noted. “Before his view in kaleidoscopic rapidity, spread the eventful occurrences of the morning of four and a half decades ago.” To Conger those events were as clear as if they had happened that morning. He again smelled the acrid smoke from the fire burning out of control in Richard Garrett’s tobacco barn. The sharp crack of Boston Corbett’s pistol echoed afresh in his mind. Booth gasped for air on Garrett’s front porch, begging to be killed.Conger hesitated with deliberateness, as if his memory gate suddenly snapped shut. The silence, however, wasn’t resistance. He never refused the myriad requests to reminisce, even filling local lecture halls with friends and neighbors. As would happen every time before he talked about the assassination, Conger had to brace himself. His granddaughter recalled Conger would sometimes tear up when telling the story. But this silence wasn’t an attempt to suppress his emotions. He knew he would shock those who saw Booth only as a coward.“If there was anything in the assassin’s career which prompted admiration, it was his courage,” Conger said. “I was twice wounded in the Civil War, was under fire at many of the most disastrous battles and led my command right through the teeth of almost certain annihilation, yet this exhibition of sublime courage, with death lurking in every corner, was a lesson to me.” Conger suggested Booth was either a maniac or the bravest man he ever saw. “I am inclined to think that the former was nearer the exact situation with him than the latter.” Conger’s opinion wasn’t meant to signal approval for Booth’s actions. But as a man who witnessed how scores of soldiers responded to their imminent demise, he knew that as reprehensible as Booth was, acceptance of his fate was anything but cowardly.April 14, 1865 was a day to visit the theater. Abraham Lincoln watched “Our American Cousin” performed by a professional troupe of actors at Ford’s Theater. Conger, a civilian after battle wounds forced his departure from the Union cavalry in early 1865, was watching a group of Connecticut soldiers perform a play in Richmond, where as a government detective he was taking depositions in a bounty fraud investigation. When Conger returned to his billet he found utter chaos. “[E]verything was going wild, and it was an hour before I could find an officer that knew what had happened to stop and tell of the report. It was reported that Mr. Lincoln, and Stanton and Seward and a lot of others were killed,” Conger later recalled.Whether Conger was ordered back to Washington or returned on his own, the next day he closed his office at City Point. “While I was there doing that Ward Lamon, who was Marshall of the District of Columbia, came down from Richmond on a boat of his own and stopped there. [He] was going on to Washington, and I went with him and got to Washington Sunday afternoon.”Conger’s superior, Lafayette Baker, was in New York City at the time of Lincoln’s murder. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton ordered Baker to return at once to Washington to help in the investigation. Later, Baker would create a fanciful scene in which Stanton tearfully told him that his entire dependence was on Baker’s shoulders. Baker also claimed he was in charge of the entire investigation. Both stories are inventions.While at the War Department telegraph office, Baker stumbled onto intelligence that two men had crossed the Potomac River into Virginia. Investigators had earlier determined that Booth was riding with a druggist’s clerk named David Herold, who had conspired in Booth’s earlier plot to kidnap Lincoln. Shut out by other investigators, Baker decided to send his own men into the field. In the first official statement he gave after Booth’s capture, Conger recalled that at noon on April 24, Baker asked if he had a horse ready. “I want to send you away,” he said. Conger was sent to General Christopher C. Augur to request 25 soldiers for the expedition. Upon Conger’s return, Baker called for a map to show where he believed Booth and Herold had crossed.Lafayette’s cousin, Byron Baker soon entered the room. Byron had served as quartermaster of the First District of Columbia Cavalry, which Conger had de facto command of from 1863 to 1864, although Lafayette, who in 1865 still held the rank of colonel, was its figurehead leader. “I want you and Conger to go to this place [on the map], search the country through and get Booth,” he told the pair. Lafayette would stay behind in Washington. Later Lieutenant Edward P. Doherty of the 16th New York Cavalry reported in. Introductions were made, and further plans were discussed.As Conger and Byron were both civilians, Doherty assumed he would be in charge of the expedition, as he was in command of the 16th New York detachment. However, Lafayette, if his account of the meeting is to be believed, told Doherty he was to act under the orders of Conger and Byron. While this could be true, it’s questionable as neither Conger nor Byron mention it in their statements. A monumental clash of egos among the trio was quickly established, especially between Conger and Doherty. Even though several months elapsed since Conger was forced out of the service, he saw himself as the ranking officer. Conger was never one to suffer underlings gladly, and he saw no reason to make an exception for Doherty.While Conger and Byron saw themselves as a team, both agreed Conger would lead. Again rank played a role. Conger believed since he outranked Byron in the army, he outranked him in the chase. Byron never questioned this until after Booth’s death. Years later, Byron claimed Conger commanded only because he (Byron) gave in to Conger’s hurt feelings.Boarding the steamer John S. Ide, the posse made its way down the Potomac River to a landing near Belle Plain, Va., where they arrived later that evening. Disembarking, Conger and Byron, who were in civilian clothes, rode ahead of the detachment, pretending to look for two men they had become separated from. As they knew Booth had broken his leg, the pair visited several doctors in the region to see if they had met their supposed friend. The ruse produced no solid information so the two re-joined Doherty and the 16th New York and rode to the Rappahannock River.Pain from Conger’s war wounds surfaced. Stopping just after daybreak on April 25 at a local doctor’s home near Port Conway Va., the men ate and Conger rested. While Byron and Doherty headed to Port Conway, Conger slept. Sensitive to his condition, Conger rarely mentioned this. When the distribution of the reward money turned Byron and Conger first into rivals and later bitter enemies, Conger’s infirmities and their effect would become a club with which Byron figuratively beat Conger.The man leading the chase was born in 1834 in Huron County, Ohio. Conger was the eighth of ten children of Rev. Enoch and Esther Conger, Presbyterian missionaries on Ohio’s Western Reserve. Enoch Conger had served as a chaplain during the War of 1812, after which he entered the ministry. He led several churches in Ohio, so the family constantly moved. In 1836, Enoch moved his family to Fremont, where several years later Everton lived as a dentist until war erupted.When the Confederates fired on Fort Sumter, Conger enlisted with the 8th Ohio Infantry. Well known to his fellow soldiers as “Dr. Conger”, he was elected second lieutenant of Company F. The unit never left Ohio. After its term of service expired, Conger was discharged, at a loss as to his place in the emerging struggle. Combining a lifelong love of horses with advice from a future president, Conger soon found his role.“I have seen Conger. . .” fellow Fremont resident Rutherford B. Hayes wrote his uncle, Sardis Birchard. “He wishes a place. I ventured to suggest that he could perhaps raise a company in your region by getting an appointment from the governor. All here praise him both as a business man and as a soldier. He must, I think, get some place. His reputation is so good with those he is associated with.” On Sept. 15, 1861 Conger took Hayes’ advice and was enrolled as captain of Company A, 3rd West Virginia Cavalry. The only other enrollee at the time was his older brother, Seymour, who became First Lieutenant. Together, they embarked on the adventure of their lives, but only Everton lived to tell about it.Conger’s first serious taste of combat came during Stonewall Jackson’s 1862 summer foray into the Shenandoah Valley. Conger rode with Major General John C. Fremont as unattached cavalry. He became known to his commander through a chance encounter with Colonel Turner Ashby, a reckless cavalryman described by a colleague as “a strange man.” Ashby, it was said, “Regards nothing. Shot, shell, rain, hail, snow…all are apparently the same to him. He will quit a meal at anytime for a chance at a Yankee.”Making his retreat up the valley, on June 3 Jackson ordered Ashby to burn the Cedar Mill Creek Bridge near Mt. Jackson. Conger, whose troops had been in pursuit of Jackson that day, led his men toward the bridge, galloping at full speed in an attempt to stop Ashby’s work. Ashby hurried his men across and ordered combustibles piled on the bridge. The heavy rains had soaked the wooden structure, making it difficult to light.Conger and company reached the bridge and watched as the men detached by Ashby escaped, their work unfulfilled. Ashby, however, kept to his duty, trying to light the fire. Seeing it was impossible, he mounted his horse at the last minute, leading the pursuers for another two miles. At least one of those chasing Ashby was killed. One of the pursuing federals fired at Ashby. The bullet grazed his boot, but struck Ashby’s white horse. Despite the steed’s mortal wound, Ashby escaped capture.Conger’s first wound came in 1862. Operating under Major General Franz Sigel in the Loudon Valley in Virginia, Conger was en route to Bristoe Station on October 23 with 40 men when he was attacked by 125 rebel cavalry. Although outnumbered, Conger’s forces routed the Confederates, making prisoners of two and killing 12. In the thick of the fight, Conger was shot off his horse. The ball entered Conger’s right side between the hip and the ribs and lodged into bone near the spine, where it remained for the rest of his life. After falling from his mount, Conger received a saber wound from a rushing Confederate. Believed by his men to be dead, Conger spent the frigid October night on the field. When he was found to be alive Conger was taken to a local doctor’s home for treatment.With one of his best soldiers now a Confederate prisoner, Sigel determined to find Conger. On October 26, Captain Ulric Dahlgren, along with 100 men, headed toward Warrenton Junction, looking for whatever information they might find. After being alerted by citizens as to Conger’s whereabouts, under a flag of truce Dahlgren visited Conger at the doctor’s home. Dahlgren succeeded in getting Conger, who was on a mattress on the floor, moved to a bed. After Conger briefed Dahlgren on what happened, the raider returned, reporting to Sigel that Conger was alive. Sigel wrote Conger, saying “your services are much appreciated by me. I am cheered to learn that you are recovering. Send for anything you might need and it will be forwarded to you.”Conger began a long road to recovery after receiving his parole on November 2. He returned to duty in August 1863, but his time with Company A was nearing an end. Conger applied for the major’s position in the 1st District of Columbia Cavalry. On September 11, he received word from Colonel Lafayette Baker of his application’s approval. He resigned his commission with the 3rd West Virginia ten days later. Seymour remained with the 3rd West Virginia, rising to the rank of major, until his death in 1864 while leading a charge in Moorefield, Va.Conger’s reasons for transferring remain a mystery. Possibly, his chances for promotion in the 3rd West Virginia were slim, given his long absence. Even after his close encounter with Ashby and the skirmish near Catlett’s Station, Conger remained a captain. Not only would he go into the 1st D.C. as a major with de facto command of the regiment, he would shortly be promoted to lieutenant colonel.Few people ever had anything good to say about Lafayette Baker. A Senator remarked after the war he thought it doubtful Baker ever told the truth, “even by accident.” In 1909, Clara Laughlin, author of one of the earliest histories of Lincoln’s murder, described Baker as “a pious old fraud who left a most malodorous reputation in Washington” and as “one of the worst leeches in the Government employ.” Baker’s poor reputation rested mainly on his role as chief of the National Detective Police (NDP). With strong support from Secretary of War Stanton, and more importantly, Lincoln, the NDP was the investigative arm of the War Department.Conger’s military career ended in the June 1864 raid led by Brigadier General James H. Wilson. The 1st D.C., attached to Major General Ben Butler’s Army of the James, was under the command of Brigadier General August V. Kautz. Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant ordered Kautz to support Wilson on the expedition, which would add pressure to Lee’s lines of supply and communication and was Grant’s final attempt to take Petersburg short of a siege. Wilson sniffed that Kautz’s troops were “nothing more than a small and poorly organized brigade of about two thousand men.” Many from the 1st D.C. had little experience on horseback, having trained unmounted. “Probably…no other regiment in the service took the field in a condition so unfavorable to success,” wrote regimental historian Edward P. Tobie.Most of the men of Kautz’s command, some 2,500 in all, were ordered to take the Staunton River Bridge, which was defended by about 1,000 men, many of whom were either civilians or soldiers recuperating from wounds. Six attempts were made to storm the bridge, and all six were repulsed. In addition to superior Confederate entrenchments, the Union soldiers had to contend with no effective covering. Also, the intense heat and sun caused several to fall from sunstroke. On one of the six charges, Conger was again wounded. Declared unfit for service by Union doctors in early 1865, Conger was assigned by Baker to detached service in the War Department. In February 1865, Conger was officially mustered out of the cavalry. In what was probably an attempt to keep his old friend from becoming destitute, Baker offered Conger a job in the NDP. Although he offered no prior experience as an investigator, Conger accepted. While providing a steady income, the job didn’t require much in the way of rigorous duty.Why Baker selected Conger for the search, given the aforementioned severity of his wounds, defies easy answer. Conger should never have been picked for this duty. Booth had been free for nearly two weeks, so every minute wasted was another minute that could see the assassin elude capture. But Baker, for all his faults, recognized that the success that the 1st D.C. was due to Conger’s leadership, and there is evidence Conger knew the territory where the posse would search.On April 24, Booth and Herold crossed the Rappahannock at Port Conway with three Confederate soldiers, Willie Jett, Mortimer Bainbridge Ruggles and Absolom Ruggles Bainbridge. Looking for a place to deposit Booth, the party made its way to the farm of Richard Garrett, who agreed to let the stranger into his home. Herold rode further south with the three Confederate soldiers.As Conger rested, Doherty and Byron got a clue from ferryman William Rollins that five men had crossed the Rappahannock the day before. Doherty sent for Conger. Rollins agreed to take the party to Bowling Green, Va., provided they arrest him. He didn’t want to be known as one who voluntarily cooperated with Yankees. Crossing the river, the trio’s first stop was the Trap, an establishment dedicated to pleasurable pursuits, to see if any special guests had recently visited. The owner, a Mrs. Carter, declined to talk, knowing it would be bad for business. With a brilliant ruse, Conger loosened her tongue after saying the men they were after had violated a young woman in a most brutal fashion.Mrs. Carter confirmed that four men had been “guests” there for a short time, but none were lame, which meant Booth was somewhere else. Herold and his three new-found friends headed out to Bowling Green, Carter said. She added that three of them returned the next day minus Jett, who had gone to the Star Hotel in Bowling Green where his girlfriend, Izora Gouldman, lived. To Bowling Green they headed.A short time later, Conger, Byron and Doherty were standing in Jett’s room, a gun pointed at the young Confederate soldier’s head. “Where are the two men who came with you across the river at Port Royal,” Conger demanded. Jett sized up the situation, saw Conger as the one in charge, and asked if he could speak to him alone. Byron and Doherty left the room. Jett reached out his hand to Conger and told him “I know who you want; and I will tell you where they can be found.” Jett, who had never been comfortable with Booth and Herold, now tried to save his own skin. However, there was a problem. Jett assumed Conger and his party had come from Richmond, not realizing they came from Port Royal. “If you have come from there, you have come past them,” Jett said. “I cannot tell you whether they are there now or not.” Conger told Jett it didn’t make any difference. They would return to Garrett’s farm.After arriving at the farm and stationing the men at various spots on the property, Conger went to the porch where he found Byron in conversation with Richard Garrett. Conger asked Garrett “Where are the two men who stopped here at your house?” Garrett, who stammered when excited, said they were in the nearby woods. Garrett protested that they had arrived at his doorstep without his consent, and that he had ordered them to leave. Conger cut him off. “I do not want any long story out of you,” he roared. “I just want to know where these men have gone.” With a gun to his head, Garrett again stammered and said he hadn’t wanted anything to do with his “guests.” Exasperated, Conger ordered a rope be brought to him, saying “I will put that man up to the top of one of those locust trees.” John Garrett, one of Richard’s two sons who served in the Confederate army, came to his father’s rescue.He explained Booth and Herold had been locked in the tobacco barn and were still there. Immediately, Conger, Byron, Doherty and John Garrett went to the barn. Conger and Doherty stationed the remaining soldiers around three sides of the structure with Byron locating himself at the front, where Conger and Doherty joined him.Byron told Booth they were going to send in one of the Garrett brothers to retrieve the weapons they believed the fugitive to have, and that they must surrender or the barn would be fired. The younger Garrett demurred, saying Booth would shoot him. “They know you, and you can go in,” Byron said. Once in, Booth snarled at the young man, “Damn you! You have betrayed me.” The younger Garrett beat a hasty retreat. Conger ordered him to gather some brush and place it against the barn. After Booth again threatened the young man, Conger let Garrett draw back. Herold decided he wanted out. After calling his travel companion a “damned coward” Booth told Byron there was a man inside willing to surrender. Fine, Byron replied, but Herold must bring out the weapons. Booth refused, saying the guns were his. This exchange lasted for some time until Conger told Byron to forget the weapons and get Herold out.With Herold in custody, Conger determined Booth wouldn’t leave voluntarily so he went to the back of the barn, tied together some loose hay into a rope, and set the rope ablaze. He threw it on more loose hay piled in a corner. Conger never gave any other reason why he decided it was time to end the stand-off, although the pain from his wounds likely precipitated the action. Even with his rest, Conger was in excruciating pain.After Conger lit the fire, Booth hobbled back to the corner. “He looked at the fire, and from the expression on his face, I am satisfied he looked to see if he could put it out, and was satisfied that he could not do it, it was burning so much,” Conger would later testify. “He dropped his arm, relaxed his muscles, and turned around, and started for the front of the barn.” Conger also headed for the front of the barn. Halfway there he heard the sharp crack of a pistol. Boston Corbett, a sergeant in the 16th New York Cavalry and a man generally described as a religious fanatic, had shot Booth in the neck. Corbett later testified that he felt either Booth was attempting to escape or was going to shoot Byron.Conger entered the barn and immediately told Byron “he has shot himself.” Byron, who had full view of Booth at all times, knew Booth hadn’t committed suicide. Again, Conger said “Yes sir, he shot himself.” Again, Byron said he hadn’t. Conger thought it strange that Byron would disagree with him, but there was little time to ponder it as the barn became engulfed by flames. They dragged Booth outside, and Conger returned to the barn in a vain attempt to put the fire out.Conger thought Booth was dead. But as he testified later, “when I got back to him, his eyes and mouth were moving.” Conger called for some water to splash in Booth’s face, which revived him. The detective noticed Booth was attempting to speak. He bent down, put his ear next to Booth’s mouth, and heard “tell mother I die for my country.” Conger repeated it, asking if that was Booth’s words, which Booth affirmed. Although Byron would testify that Booth was shot against orders, Conger contradicted him in his first statement aboard the monitor Montauk, saying “they [the soldiers] had no orders either to fire or not to fire.”Booth lived a few more hours. At various times he asked for water or to be turned, and he begged to be killed. Conger ordered a soldier to Belle Plain to get a doctor. A short time later that doctor pronounced the wound mortal. Conger went through Booth’s pockets and removed several items, including a date book that would later gain fame as Booth’s “diary.”After Booth died, Conger headed out ahead of the party to return to Washington, taking with him the items found in Booth’s pockets. He went to Belle Plain with Corbett, although the sergeant stayed, waiting for the posse to return with Booth’s body. In his book Manhunt, writer James Swanson claims Conger did this in order to promote his own role in the capture and puff up his claim to the reward. However, Conger said that he had been ordered by Stanton not to make any comments about the capture of Booth, even turning down an offer of money for his story. Conger’s return to Washington was the action of a leader.Back in Washington, Conger went to Lafayette’s office, and the two rode to Stanton’s office at the War Department. Stanton had already gone home, so they went there. Stanton was lying on a sofa when Lafayette rushed in and told him Booth had been captured. It took a while for the news to sink in, but eventually Stanton got up and looked at the items which Conger had brought back from Garrett’s farm. Afterward, Conger, exhausted, ate supper and rested.Conger’s attention turned to the $75,000 reward offered by the War Department. Because of the numerous claims submitted, the decision on how to distribute the money was left to a commission headed by Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt and his assistant, E.D. Townsend. Reflecting the military convention of its make-up, the tradition of distributing prize money by rank was favored as the fairest arrangement. “The analogies between the seizure by a naval force of a vessel in the service of the public enemy, and the capture of felons and traitors who have committed crimes in the same service and in the interest of the rebellion, are sufficiently obvious to suggest the advisability of restoring in the latter case to similar rules for the distribution of rewards…” the Holt-Townsend commissioners wrote. Using that logic, the reward scheme favored Doherty, who would be awarded $7,500 compared to Lafayette’s $3,750 and the $4,000 given to Conger and Byron.Concerned that the credit (not to mention a good chunk of the money) would go to Doherty, Lafayette had Conger and Byron submit a report which he in turn presented to Stanton on Dec. 27, 1865. The detailed report, which appears in Lafayette’s autobiography, had attached to it his own “observations.” In it, he said regardless of whether those involved were “citizen, soldier, or alien” whoever participated in the capture deserved a share commensurate with that person’s role. Since it was his plan, and he sent the men into the field, Lafayette felt entitled to the largest portion, followed by Conger and Byron. Doherty and his men were mere subordinates, “though necessary, instruments” to his own detectives.When the Holt-Townsend report was issued in April 1866, Doherty was relieved to find his claim had been upheld, and that Conger and the two Bakers, while getting some money, didn’t get the lion’s share, and with it the credit for capturing Booth and Herold. However, others weren’t as happy. On May 7, 1866, less than a month after the Holt-Townsend report was issued, Congressman William D. Kelley of Pennsylvania introduced a resolution asking the Committee of Claims to “inquire into the fairness and propriety of the distribution of the rewards offered for the arrest of Jefferson Davis and the conspirators to murder President Lincoln.”The Committee investigated, and on July 24, 1866 issued its report. Baker’s arguments fell on more favorable ears because the committee wrote it did not “regard the capture of Booth and Herold as purely military service.” As Congress wrangled with the rewards question, Conger wanted it over so he could return home. Unknown to outside observers at the time was a deal brokered at “the eleventh hour” which allowed the bill to pass. The compromise was struck by Congressman Rutherford B. Hayes, again playing a role in his fellow townsmen’s life. Hayes told Conger if he would be patient, he could get $15,000. Conger agreed. The House passed the bill, followed by the Senate.As his time in the spotlight ended, Conger settled into a voluntary obscurity. An attempt at farming in Ohio failed, so he and his family headed to southern Illinois, where his parents and a brother, Chauncey, lived. Conger studied law and dabbled in local politics, being elected as police magistrate (similar to justice of the peace) which he held until President Hayes once again helped his old friend by appointing him to the territorial supreme court of Montana in 1880.Conger found his time in Montana to be anything but quiet. In 1882 a political dispute forced Conger into a battle to restore his name. Conger, a Republican, supported Democratic commissioners against a power grab by some Republican territorial officials. The Republicans sought Conger’s dismissal from office using the one issue they could exploit—his addiction to alcohol (brought on by his war wounds) and love of gambling. In 1883 President Chester A. Arthur suspended Conger pending an investigation. Shown mercy, Conger was allowed back on the bench a few days before his term expired. Wanting to restore his reputation, Conger requested re-appointment. He was ignored, and in 1884 was out of a job.For the rest of his life, Conger practiced law, tried ranching, and reminisced about the capture of Booth. Both Byron Baker and Doherty were receiving national attention for their exploits. Both ensured the other was never mentioned, and neither man mentioned Conger. Whether he felt like he had nothing to prove, or he just didn’t want to mount a national tour, Conger stayed quiet. Occasionally, Conger’s name surfaced in newspapers, either at a reunion of the Grand Army of the Republic or near the anniversary of Lincoln’s death and Booth’s capture.Conger’s last few months were spent in Hawaii, where in 1917 his son-in-law, Joseph Poindexter, was sent to the territorial bench by President Woodrow Wilson. Conger followed current events with intense interest, especially those in Europe. Although he had already lost two sons, his daughter’s death in 1918 proved unbearable. Just a few short months after her demise, Conger suffered a massive stroke, which proved fatal. His body was returned to Dillon, Montana, where after he was buried, his name slipped further into obscurity.Butte Evening News, April 3, 1910Author interview with Helen P. Morgan, Aug. 14, 1995.Butte Evening News, April 3, 1910.Unpublished statement of Everton J. Conger in White County Historical Society, Carmi, Ill. [n.d.].Ibid.Statement of Everton J. Conger aboard the monitor Montauk, April 27, 1865, National Archives and Records Administration RG 94, M619 R455, frame 725 (hereafter referred to as Montauk Statement).Lafayette C. Baker, History of the United States Secret Service (Philadelphia, 1867), 531.Testimony of Luther Byron Baker in Impeachment Investigation: Testimony Taken Before the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives in the Investigation of the Charges Against Andrew Johnson, 40th Congress, 1st Session House Report No. 7, (Washington, 1867) 490 (Hereafter referred to as Impeachment Investigation).In Conger’s testimony during the trial of John Surratt in 1867, he admitted to being “a little lame” during the chase, but Byron Baker began to cast doubts during his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on Conger’s fitness to be in the field. Several years later Baker claimed that Conger begged him to be allowed to come along but Baker was concerned about his ability to ride. For Conger’s testimony see “Trial of John Surratt” in The Reporter (Washington, D.C., 1867) 262; For Baker’s comments see Luther Byron Baker, “An Eyewitness Account of the Death and Burial of J. Wilkes Booth”, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, 39 (Dec. 1946), 428.Charles Richard Williams, ed., Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Vol. II 1861-1865, (New York, 1971) 48Paul Christopher Anderson, Blood Image: Turner Ashby in the Civil War and the Southern Mind, (Baton Rouge, 2002) 2-3A.E. Richards, “General Turner Ashby” Southern Bivouac, Vol. 2, No.1, (June 1886) 63.OR, Series 1, Vol. 2, 16.OR, Series I, Vol. 19, Part 2, 100-101; Conger’s wounds are described in his pension papers, RG 94, NARA;I am deeply indebted to Eric Wittenberg for bringing to my attention the role played by Ulric Dahlgren in Conger’s story. Much of the information comes from the relevant chapter in his upcoming biography of Dahlgren. The letter from Franz Sigel is in Conger’s pension papers, RG 94, NARA.Lafayette Baker to Everton J. Conger, September 12, 1863 in Conger’s service record, RG 94, NARA; On Seymour’s death see Wheeling Intelligencer, August 14, 1864.Impeachment Investigation, 3; Clara Laughlin, The Death of Lincoln (New York, 1909) 144.James Harrison Wilson, Under the Old Flag, (New York, 1912) 456; Edward P. Tobie, History of the First Maine Cavalry, 1861-1865, 332-33.For accounts of the attempts to burn the bridge see the various reports in the OR by Wilson, Series 1, Vol. 40, Part 1, 620-33 and Kautz and various commanders, Series 1, Vol. 40, Part 1, 730-742 ; Tobie, History of the First Maine Cavalry, 335-36; For the Southern perspective see Southern Historical Society Papers, Volumes 19 and 37 and Captain Benjamin L. Farinholt’s report in OR, Series 1, Vol. 40, Part 1, 764-5.Testimony of Luther Byron Baker in Impeachment Investigation, 479.Edward J. Steers, Blood on the Moon (Lexington, Ky., 2001) 199.Testimony of Everton J. Conger in Ben: Perley Poore, Conspiracy Trial for the Murder of the President and the Attempt to Overthrow the Government by the Assassination of Its Principal Officers (Arno Press Reprint, New York, 1972) 313.Ibid, 313-314.Ibid, 314.Ibid, 315.Ibid, 316; Corbett testimony in Ibid, 324.Testimony of Everton J. Conger in The Reporter, 262.Montauk Statement, frame 725.James L. Swanson, Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer (New York, 2006), 349. Conger’s claim is found in “An Account of the Proceedings by Colonel Conger” an unpublished typescript in the possession of Conger relatives. I am thankful to Conger’s grandson, Everton Ellsworth Conger for supplying it to me.While the reward amount offered by the War Department was $100,000, that was for the capture of Booth, Herold and Surratt. As only Booth and Herold were captured, the amount paid out was $75,000.Awards for the Capture of Booth and Others, Letter from the Secretary of War in Answer To A Resolution for the capture of J.W. Booth and D.E. Herold, April 19, 1866, 39th Congress 1st Session, Ex. Doc. No. 90., (Washington, 1866) 7.Baker, History of the United States Secret Service, 539Reward for the Capture of Booth, 39th Congress, 1st Session, Report No. 99 (Washington, 1866) 1.“An Account of the Proceedings by Colonel Conger”, 3.The hearing file concerning Conger numbers 880 pages and is located in the National Archives. See also Clark C. Spence,Territorial Politics and Government in Montana, 1864-89 (Urbana, 1975) 227; and John D.W. Guice, The Rocky Mountain Bench (New Haven, 1972) 76-77.

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