320. Norman B. Judd (William H. Herndon Interview).

[November 1866]

N B Judd.

I Got on the cars with Lincoln at Spfgd and went the trip thru—never heard don't think that there is any truth in the Indiana or Ohio story about throwing


train off the track or in Killing Lincoln Got Pinkertons letter At Cincinnati—sent special messenger with letter their to me—One of Mr. Pinkerton's female detectives met me at N.Y—Spy—laid all the facts before me—; I then arranged that on my arrival at Philadellphia get a room and arranged to meet Pinkerton—went to the Continent—quit it—went down to _____ hotel. Meet Pinker & Felton Presd of Baltimore and Wilmington—There the Evidence was laid before me—Pinkerton laid all the Evidence before me—was discussed—Pinkerton was Exceedingly anxious that Lincoln Should go on to Washington that night (11 ocl) train—Felton & I agreed to it. The conclusion was that Pinkerton should go to the Continental—see Lincoln and lay the whole facts before him—which was done—went to my room—Lincoln was surrounded by the usual Crowd. Lincoln was taken to a room—. Probally Nickoly Lincoln liked Pinkerton—had the utmost confidence in him as a gentleman—and a man of sagacity. All the facts in detail were there given to Mr Lincoln—in detail. Go you must—The world will laugh at you I know prepare to meet the charge of cowardice and laughed at even by friends—and you must prepare yourself to be laughed at—So will your friends—I am convinced that there is danger—Presdt Felton says there is danger—Pinkerton says there is danger—There's danger, but you must prepare to be laughed at by friends and foe. Lincoln Said—I can't go to-night—Lincoln said, I can't go tonight" I impress this idea on Mr Lincoln and you must Enlarge on it. The Evidence was such as to Convince all honest minds—yet the Evidence Could not be laid before the public because it would Endanger the very agents of the Government—Pinkertons men and all. who were at that moment playing their wise game among the Secessionists—in the Military Companies—one was hung. I was hung—. I told Mr Lincoln all and tried to impress the danger on him—told him that friend & foe would laugh at him—yet he must stand it—bear the sneers and scoffs—& scorn of men—friend & foe alike.—Evidence couldn't be got before the world—Mr Lincoln Said I have engaged to raise the flag on to-morrow morning over Independence hall—I have engaged to go to Harrisburg. Beyond these I have no engagements—after these engagements are fulfilled you are at liberty to take such course as you please. I then said to Mr Lincoln We don't to take any course that will endanger you or bring you into ridicule, because you are to bear the burthen of the thing." Lincoln then Said—Well—I've Known Pinkerton for years and have Known and tested his truthfulness and sagacity and my judgement co-incides with yours. I then Said to Lincoln—We will then complete the arrangements and I I will tell you in detail to-morrow [o]n the Cars between Philadelphia & Harrisburg. Mr. Nichol Knew of this interview—so did Lamon—neither Knew of what was doing or said—or being said—Yet they Knew of the interview—Mr Lincoln then returned to the Parlors in the Continental and Mr. Felton Presdt—Mr Scott of Pa central and Mr Sanford General Telegraph agent of the United States—were sent for and came the room—the one we had the interview with Mr Lincoln then and there we made the arrangements—engaged all—nearly all night in arranging & completing the programme of next day. It was arranged that Special Car should leave Harrisburg at 6 o'c PM and reach Phila. on the 11 oc train—in season for the Train for


Baltimore & washington—(But one person of the party should accompany Mr Lincoln, that was talked over at the time.) That every train on the Penn. Central should be off the track from 6—till that Lincoln Car had passed—Harrisburg to Pa—Come back—had passed and going or reached Philadelphia—That Pinkerton should meet Mr Lincoln with a Carriage at or on the outside of the City, and convey him—L to the Depot of the Baltimore & Wilmington depot, so as not to go through the heart of the city. Pinkerton did so—did his part well—artisticly so—Keenly shrewdly and well—Pinkerton was & is a good friend of Lincoln—: It was agreed that Felton should detain the 11 oc Baltimore train, on the Baltimore & to Baltimore until Mr L's arrival—That Mr Sanford should see to it the telegraph and take the Proper measures for the Execution of the plan—that no telegraphic message went over any of the wires until all this that evening was accomplished his Knowledge & skill being "equal to that task"—ie Sanford. Raised—L did—the flag. according to Programme—left for Harr—In the morning just before the train was ready to start for Harrisburg Mr Lincoln sent for me to Come to his room and there I Saw and met Fred Seward—Mr Lincoln said—Mr Seward has been sent by his father to inform me of the same Conspiracy. that you and Pinkerton Explained to me last night" (saw him Fred Seward at Philad) and advises that I proceed immediatly to Washington—You can Explain to him so far as you think fit what has been dne—I said to Mr Seward that arrangements had been made to pass Mr Lincoln Safely in Washington and you may so assure your father—that the mode—the manner in detail it is not necessary to detail." We left for Harrisburg and on the way I gave to Mr Lincoln a full and precise detail of all the arrangements that had been made—I said to him that the step to him was so important that I felt that it should be Communicated to the other gentlemen of the Party—Lincoln said—"You can do as you like about that"

As soon as the ceremonies are over at Harrisburg I will fix an interview between him and Col Sumner—Maj Hunter—Judge Davis—Capt Jno Pope—and Lamon; they being part of the Presdt party—I Changed my seat—Nickloly said to me, Judd there is something up.—What is it, if it is proper that I should Know—I said—Geo there is no necessity for your Knowing & one man can Keep a matter better than two—Arrived at Harrisburg—Ceremonies—got into the Parlor—Explained to Sumner & the Party the facts as well as I Could and the Plan and programe that should Carry Lincoln to Washington—Mr Sumner Spoke the first word—"That proceeding Said Sumner will be a d—d piece of cowardice"—I replied to this pointed hit—by Saying "that view of the Case has already been presented to Mr Lincoln"—A discussion of the matter, Pope favoring our arrangement—Sumner said—I'll get a Squad of Cavalry Sir, cut our way to Washington Sir." I said probably before that day comes the inauguration dy will have passed: it is important that Mr Lincoln Should be in Washington that day—" after Considerable discussion Judge Davis who had Expressed no opinion, but had put various questions to test the truthfulness of the story—turned to Mr Lincoln and said—You personally heard Mr Pinkertons Story—you heard this discussion—What is What is your judgement on the matter"? Mr Lincoln


said I have listened to this discussion with interest—I See no reason—no good reason to change the Programme—and I am for Carrying it out as arranged by Judd—" This silenced all discussion and now the question was—Who should go with him (all this was at Harrisburg) to Washington? I stated that it had been deemed by those who had talked it over that but one man should accompany Mr Lincoln and Mr. Lamon's name had been named as that person—Sumner demurred Saying—I have undertaken to see Mr Lincoln to Washington. Mr Lincoln then went to his dinner—Lincoln heard all this Conversation—A Carriage to the door of the _____ hotel to take Mr Lincoln back to the Cars & thence to Philadelphia where Pinkerton was to meet him as stated. Sumner was a fighting cock—If I had gone Sumner Pope & &c would have got mad, but Lamon's going could insult nor wound the feelings of any one—so it was Concluded. Lincoln agreed with me, or I should have been kicked out of court. Lincoln was at the dinner table when the Carriage had arrived to take him to the track and thence to Phil. Lincoln was Called and went to his room, and Changed his Coat—Came down Stairs into the hall with his party—I said to Lamon hurry with him—he & Mr Lincoln quickly passed out of doors, followed by the others of the party. I put my hand on Col Sumners Shoulder who was going to get into the Carriage and Said—"One moment Col" He turned to me—and while he turned to me—the Carriage drove off—and a madder man you never saw—. At 2 o'cl am I recd a dispatch from Mr Scott Stating that Mr Lincoln passed through Philadelphia—: Lincoln was in a dress coat—dinner Coat—Changed his coat—his shawl—a felt had &c that he carried with him—called by the world Scoth plaid—

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 3951—58; Huntington Library: LN2408, 2:466—72



1. Pinkerton advised WHH, in a letter dated November 7, 1866, to see Judd about the Baltimore affair.