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Posted August 24, 2010
"The First Assassin" Takes us back to the days when Abraham Lincoln had just been elected president despite the very separate views of those from the north and those from the south. In many cases it was family against family, white against black, white against white, and blacks trying to figure out where they would stand in a skirmish between the north and the south. The story starts with an assassin planning to assassinate Lincoln upon his arrival in Baltimore while on his way to Washington to assume the presidency. Only a change in travel plans kept this plan from its fruition.
Langston Bennett was a rich owner of property and slaves in the Charleston area. In these days the owners had a few slaves they could count on to do what they wanted no matter how delicate the matter might be. Lucius was Bennett's slave that was such a slave for him. Bennett was one that strongly believed in slavery and he was irate that Lincoln was elected and trying to stop slavery by freeing all the slaves.
Colonel Charles Rook was a union soldier who believed that the presidents' security was of the utmost importance at all times. Lincoln gave Rook fits because he liked to go out unannounced in public and move around various areas. He could not stand to be penned in. Rook's commanding officers told him not to use his time investigating rumors of assassins trying to kill the president but rather to do his job leading his troops as ordered. Rook could not let the protection stop and he continually got himself in trouble following up various leads and rumors of Lincoln's demise. The fact that the White House was open to the public farther made Rook try to control security. One could get an appointment to see Lincoln in his White House office and freely come and visit with him. Rook felt this, along with the lack of security throughout the entire Washington area, would allow bad things to occur.
In Bennett's area the planning was underway to hire an assassin to kill President Lincoln. A man going by the name of Mazorca was found and given the task to enter Washington and proceed to assassinate Lincoln. Mazorca was told to find Violet Grenier in Washington. She was a southern sympathizer and would give the assassin all the information he would need to carry out his deed. Lucius had a beautiful young granddaughter who was one of the many slaves of Bennett's. She was in the eye of many a white person in the area and Lucius had to keep watch of her knowing that most whites would rape her without thinking. Big Joe, who had strong feelings for Portia, was also one of Bennett's slaves who helped keep Portia safe.
A photo was found of Mazorca and Lucius wanted to get this picture to Lincoln to warn him that this man would be trying to kill him. Portia was asked if she would transport that photo secretly and directly to Lincoln. This was something Portia wanted to do but she was so worried about her ability to get through from Charleston to Washington with so many slave owners in the path. Big Joe finally gave in to travel with her. Their travel was rough and dangerous and by many various modes of transport.
Meanwhile in Washington Rook continued his attempt against orders to protect President Lincoln. Several of Rook's men assisted him by following, watching, listening, and any method they could to expose any threat. The author had to have taken many pains to research all this information. I realize this book is hist
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