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    Louis J. Weichmann: Letters from a Key Witness in the Assassination Plot. Weichmann met John Surratt, Jr. at a Roman Catholic seminary. Neither became priests. Surratt worked as a courier for the Confederate government, operating within Union lines and Weichmann worked in the War Department in Washington, living at Mary Surratt's boarding house. He was a key witness at the trial of the conspirators, linking all the major conspirators to Mary Surratt and helping to secure the convictions of Surratt and Dr. Samuel Mudd. He later wrote a book on the assassination, but was generally ostracized by the public. His testimony was questioned, amid theories that the Roman Catholic hierarchy had some involvement in the crime, forcing him to write a sworn statement reaffirming its accuracy shortly before his death. His autograph is particularly rare. This lot has five lettersheets, each 5 ½" x 8" (three on "U. S. Treasury Department" writing paper), written by Weichmann to Philadelphia collector, lawyer and author Thomas Donaldson, the transmittal envelope marked "Strictly private and personal". Weichmann's autograph appears three times, as well as his initials one time. The extended letter and envelope are postmarked April 20, 1886 and were written from Weichmann's place of employment, the U. S. Custom House in Philadelphia. He talks about a snuff box and book sold by him to Donaldson (the book once owned by Henri B. de Ste. Marie who recognized John Surratt, Jr. while serving in the Papal Guards in 1866, and the book belonging to Mary Surratt's daughter Annie), asks him to "... read all you have written in reference to myself at your convenience..." and, most importantly, relates a meeting with John Wilkes Booth that he failed to mention while giving testimony. In full: "On the evening of March 3, 1865, I accidentally met John Wilkes Booth and John H. Surratt at the restaurant, corner of 6th street and Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington. After partaking of some refreshment, I walked with them as far as the House of Representatives, the slow Congress was still in session and about to conclude its labors. We ascended to the gallery. As we reached the landing, Booth saw a bust standing on a pedestal (in a corner). Turning to me, he asked who it was. Why, said I, that is Lincoln. What is he doing here before his time? said Booth, as he passed on. This fact has never been made public although I have stated it to friends. It was not brought out on cross examination at the conspiracy trial and probably did not occur to my mind then. Permission is given by me to Mr. Thomas Donaldson to incorporate this incident with the memoranda he is collecting to be published after his death. This is my desire that this incident be not mentioned at the present time. L.J.W." Restoration to envelope (front and back panels separated, mounted to support card). This mini-archive of Weichmann letters was broken up at one time and scattered to the winds. Amazingly, Donald Dow patiently waited for them to re-enter the market and, one by one, painstakingly reassembled the group. Hopefully, they will now stay together.



    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2015
    24th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,280

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