December 2012 Auction Ends Tuesday, December 18th, 5pm Pacific


Search By:
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/18/2012
Historic letter by Almarin C. Richards, vividly recounting the events of the night of President Lincoln's assassination. Richards was in Ford's Theater that fateful night and, as Metropolitan Police Superintendent, led the search for the conspirators. He writes to Louis Weichmann, chief prosecution witness, regarding the controversial visit to Mary Surratt's boardinghouse, which many conspiracy theorists question. In part, ''...Whether [Detective James] McDevitt or myself was first at the Surratt house on the night of the assassination I cannot say...Now McDevitt writes me that he thinks I did not visit the house that night and that he was the first one to enter the house. I have written McDevitt that he was never more mistaken in his life than in supposing I did not visit the house that night. I am not certain that the hour of the visit was one o'clock but I do not think it could have been as late as two o'clock. I did not enter the house, as I have before stated, but remained at the first door in conversation with Mrs Surratt for part of the time while officers entered of whom I supposed McDevitt was one. I did not go there to search the house but to ascertain from Mrs. S., if I could, who the parties were that Booth called to see at her house. I knew at the time that Booth was the assassin of the President but had not learned who the conspirators were. I had learned of the attempted assassination of Secretary Seward and had reports of other attempts or plans of assassinating new President Johnson, Gen. Grant, Secretary Stanton and perhaps others...I had not the remotest idea that Mrs. Surratt could have been in any way privy to the plot and never sought her for information. The only recollection I have of [Detective John] Clarvoe that night is that at about 11 o'clock I had information that two mounted men had passed the military guard at the Navy Yard bridge and that from statements made by that guard I suspected that those two mounted men might be the assassins. Very soon thereafter I directed Clarvoe to assemble 12 good riders from the force and be prepared to follow those men into Maryland as soon as I could procure horses to mount the men...7 o'clock that hour until about 11 o'clock next morning Clarvoe was waiting at headquarters or within call to head his expedition as above intended as the horses did not arrive at headquarters until the last above named hour. For the reasons above stated I cannot see how Clarvoe could have been at Mrs. Surratt's house at 2 o'clock on the night in question. Are you positive in your mind that Clarvoe was at the house at 2 o'clock that morning? Are you also positive that you let McDevitt in at the front door that morning? If you are then there must have been two visits to the house that night. The first of which you were unaware of. Did you impart any information to McDevitt at that visit of his? Did you call at my office the next morning at McDevitt's suggestion or was it of your own motion? Am I not correct in stating that you came unattended by anyone? I am unable to make it clear to my own mind that it was Saturday morning when you first called. I know I did not get home until sometime after daylight that morning. My family had not learned of the assassination when I reached home...I remember of motioning the crowd about the theater and opposite and I went down toward my office and that I remained there for a while. Now it seems to me that you called at my office quite early - as soon as 8 1/2 o'clock. I do not recall that you referred in our first interview to any visit to Mrs. Surratt's house the night previous. It seems to me that you believe you were in possession of information which after reading the morning papers and from other sources you declared important information that I should also posses...Of course I cannot explain why when you informed Mrs. S of the assassination Clarvoe told you that she should have expressed surprise and astonishment. Was not Mrs. S 'acting' a part at that time - when I said to her that the President had just been assassinated and that Booth, who had been rumored to be a frequenter of her house, was his assassin. She expressed no surprise or astonishment. When I went to the house it was dark so far as I could see throughout the house. I know I was surprised that she answered my ring at the bell so promptly and that she should be dressed and hair in perfect order. I would account for this on the presumption that Mrs. Surratt at the hour of my visit was expecting a call from some other person and had been waiting in a darkened house for a call prearranged and anticipated but in which she was disappointed. My call was a surprise to her of course and she had not then considered the part she should enact. When you first saw her that night she had had time for reflection as to the position she might be placed in. Evidently she and the others had not predicted the possibility that their plot would mislay in any manner as it did...for a time at least during this presumed confusion and alarm the conspirators had satisfied themselves that they could meet somewhere prior to making their escape. If so many of the leading officials of the government as were included in their plot had been killed they had good ground to presume that alarm, anarchy and confusion would exist for a while. Circumstance and feint hearts of actors prevented the realization of their preconceived expectations of the course of events...A.C. Richards''. Six page letter, dated 24 May 1898 is written on the front and verso on three 7.75'' x 9.75'' sheets. Very good condition.
Eyewitness Account of the Eve of Lincoln's Killing -- ''...Was not Mrs. Surratt 'acting' a part at that time - when I said that the President had just been assassinated...she expressed no...
Eyewitness Account of the Eve of Lincoln's Killing -- ''...Was not Mrs. Surratt 'acting' a part at that time - when I said that the President had just been assassinated...she expressed no...
Click above for larger image.
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $500
Final prices include buyers premium.: $1,420
Number Bids: 1
Auction closed on Tuesday, December 18, 2012.
Email A Friend
Ask a Question
Have One To Sell

Auction Notepad


You may add/edit a note for this item or view the notepad:  

Submit    Delete     View all notepad items