3500 Maple Ave., 17th Floor
Dallas, Texas 75219-3941
Fax: (214) 409-1425
Auction Name: 2020 February 22 - 23 Americana & Political Signature Auction - Dallas
Lot Number: 43123
Shortcut to Lot: HA.com/6215-43123
(Abraham Lincoln): Samuel Bland Arnold Series of Four Autograph Letters Signed Lincoln Conspiracy-Assassination.
Samuel Bland Arnold (September 6, 1834-September 21, 1906) was an Confederate sympathizer and involved in the plot to kidnap President Abraham Lincoln. He had joined the Confederate Army, but was discharged due to health reasons in 1864. After his discharge, Arnold returned to Baltimore and in late summer of 1864, he was recruited by Booth to be part of the kidnap plot. After the assassination he was arrested, and admitted to his part in the kidnapping plot. He was sentenced to life in prison, but was pardoned in 1869 by President Johnson. He lived quietly for many years until1902 he wrote several articles for The Baltimore American Newspaper describing the events in 1865. He died in 1906.
These four letters were written to William B. Kines, the City Editor for the Baltimore American newspaper. In these letters Arnold goes into details about the assassination, the trial, and mentioning Booth by name. This content was used in some of the articles published. The first letter, 4 pp., December 13, 1902, reads in part "I have plainly stated that when I first engaged with Booth in his scheme I informed my family that I was employed by him in the oil business, this was said to remove any suspicion that might arise in their minds"...."when it was learned the John Wilkes Booth was the hand that struck the fatal blow it startled me. I felt assured that my former connection and intimacy with Booth would lead to my arrest....". He continues to speak about the assassination, being released from Fort Jefferson, and more. The second letter, 4 pp., December 18, 1902, reads in part, with one interesting passage "John Wilkes Booth no doubt is dead and his bones now lie in the family plot at Greenmount cemetery. He was shot in Garretts barn. Herold was with him and gave himself up, and he was his piolet through lower Maryland. He still followed him, surrendered before Booth was shot. In my mind there is not the slightest doubt as to his demise". The third letter, 3 pp., January 15, 1903, reads in part "I am satisfied many copies of my narrative could be sold in the South especially and the venture to any Publishing co. who edits it in proper form would realize much profit by the publication....". He also speaks of his service in the Confederate Army. The fourth letter, 3 pp., May 8, 1903, reads in part "I have carefully perused the New Yorker's story. In the first place it is not likely that John Wilkes Booth would have communicated to a perfect stranger such a startling disclosure & secondly should he had done so, & the Millionaire Corby failing to make known to the proper authorities the disclosure of it makes him to all intent & purpose as guilty in the crime as Booth himself"...."I stand by the confession of those in the crime that the assassination was never contemplated until spring...."...." Booth was at the time he committed his unholy crime, demented brought about through the collapse of the Southern cause....". The letters range in size from 5" x 6" to 5" x 8", and come with two original transmittal covers. Great content with direct and detailed mentions of Booth and the assassination. In fine condition.