President's Police...

5fish

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Here a time line...

Presidential Security | History Detectives | PBS

Presidential Security
Wes with more on whose job is it to protect the President.


Who protects the President? Well, before the Secret Service, it was sometimes the Army, sometimes the local police.

But lots of times, it was no one.

Tom Jefferson walked to his own inauguration, unguarded.

Martin Van Buren walked to church on Sundays, alone.

Before Lincoln, the only serious attempt to kill a President was a would-be assassin who fired two shots at Andrew Jackson.
He missed.

But even after that, presidential protection remained, at best, sporadic.

On the night Lincoln was assassinated, a local Washington patrolman had been assigned to protect the President.

But he abandoned his post... to get a better view of the play.

The Secret Service was created four months after Lincoln's assassination- not to protect the President, but to protect the economy.

Its agents were charged with fighting counterfeiting.

At the time, over one-third of the paper currency in the United States was counterfeit.

Two more presidents would be assassinated before presidential protection became a full-time national priority.

One gunman killed President Garfield at a Washington train station in 1881; and another gunman shot President McKinley at the Pan-Am Expo in Buffalo in 1901.

After three assassinations in less than forty years, Congress finally assigned the Secret Service responsibility for the safety of the President at all times.

Today, the duties of the Secret Service include protecting the President, Vice-President, future presidents, past presidents, presidential families, visiting heads of states, and other distinguished foreign visitors.

They still continue to fight counterfeiting, as well as credit card, telemarketing, and cell phone fraud. In other words, they stay busy.
 

5fish

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That night April 1865... https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/lincolns-missing-bodyguard-12932069/

John Wilkes Booth entered the theater around 10 p.m.. Ironically, he’d also been in the Star Saloon, working up some liquid courage. When Booth crept up to the door to Lincoln’s box, Parker’s chair stood empty. Some of the audience may not have heard the fatal pistol shot, since Booth timed his attack to coincide with a scene in the play that always sparked loud laughter.

No one knows for sure if Parker ever returned to Ford’s Theatre that night. When Booth struck, the vanishing policeman may have been sitting in his new seat with a nice view of the stage, or perhaps he had stayed put in the Star Saloon. Even if he had been at his post, it’s not certain he would have stopped Booth. “Booth was a well-known actor, a member of a famous theatrical family,” says Ford’s Theatre historical interpreter Eric Martin. “They were like Hollywood stars today. Booth might have been allowed in to pay his respects. Lincoln knew of him. He’d seen him act in The Marble Heart, here in Ford’s Theatre in 1863.”


Snip...

On April 14, 1865, President Lincoln, his wife Mary Todd Lincoln, Major Henry Rathbone and his fiancée Clara Harris were attending the play Our American Cousin at Ford's Theatre. Parker was assigned to guard the entrance to the President's box where the four were seated. He is known to have, at first, stayed at his assigned post, but he later told family members that he was then released by Lincoln until the end of the play. During the intermission, Parker went to a nearby tavern with Charles Forbes and Francis Burke, Lincoln's butler and coachman.[8]

Snip... https://findery.com/Chung123/notes/bar-saw-both-assassin-bodyguard-drinking-before-lincoln-shot

At the break, bodyguard Parker left his post to go drinking at Star Saloon (518 10th St NW) next door with Lincoln's carriage crew. He claimed Lincoln relieved him and it is unclear if he ever returned.
Assassin John Wilkes Booth was having a drink at Star Saloon to muster his courage before entering Lincoln's booth at 10 pm. He had no troubles as he was very recognizable as a stage star.


The local Police created a unit to protect the president... https://rogerjnorton.com/Lincoln61.html

In the fall of 1864 it was decided that a detail of the Washington Metropolitan Police force would be assigned to protect the president. This was at the request of Ward Hill Lamon, United States Marshall for the District of Columbia and a close friend of Lincoln's. Lamon had become increasingly fearful for the president's life. On November 3, 1864, the initial detail was composed of John R. Cronin, Alphonso Dunn (or Donn), Thomas F. Pendel, and Alexander (or Andrew) C. Smith. Changes were occasionally made, although the detail was never more than 5 officers at any one time. Other officers who served in the detail included William S. Lewis, William H. Crook, George W. McElfresh, Thomas T. Hurdle, Joseph Shelton, John F. Parker, and D. Hopkins. Parker was assigned to the detail sometime between late February and early April 1865.

Snip...

Obviously, this is a mysterious case. On 12 previous visits to the theater, Lincoln had little or no security. Some professionals have suggested Parker was serving more as an escort than a guard. Also, some historians and authors have logically suggested that Abraham Lincoln, with his known lackadaisicalness for personal safety, told Parker to leave his post and find a seat where he could see the play.

Snip... https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/lincolns-missing-bodyguard-129320

As usual, Parker got off to a lousy start that fateful Friday. He was supposed to relieve Lincoln’s previous bodyguard at 4 p.m. but was three hours late.
Parker was seated outside the president’s box, in the passageway beside the door. From where he sat, Parker couldn’t see the stage, so after Lincoln and his guests settled in, he moved to the first gallery to enjoy the play. Later, Parker committed an even greater folly: At intermission, he joined the footman and coachman of Lincoln’s carriage for drinks in the Star Saloon next door to Ford’s Theatre.


Snip...

At the intermission of Our American Cousin, Charles Forbes (Lincoln's footman) and Parker invited Francis P. Burke (Lincoln's coachman) to join them for a drink at the saloon next to Ford's Theatre. Whether Parker ever returned to the theater that night is unknown for certain. When John Wilkes Booth entered the State Box, Parker was either still in the saloon or back at his seat from which he could both see and hear the play.

Snip... a woman... next morning...

The next known event regarding Officer Parker took place at 6:00 A.M. the next morning. He arrived at the police station with a woman named Lizzie Williams. She was immediately released although he wanted her charged with prostitution.
 

5fish

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A bullet through Lincoln's hat gave rise to the police guard...

Link:
www.policeone.com

Police History: Was Officer John Parker at fault for Abraham Lincoln’s death?
On April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was happier and more relaxed than he had been since his besieged presidency began — by April 15, 1865, he would be dead
www.policeone.com
www.policeone.com

Presidential Security Detail
President Abraham Lincoln is beloved today, but in life he was hated by millions in the states in rebellion — as well as “Copperhead Democrats” in the North.

Even though he had received many death threats, in August 1864 president was riding alone toward his summer retreat at “The Soldier’s Home.”

He later related that while deep in thought, “I was aroused — I may say the arousement lifted me out of my saddle as well as out of my wits — by the report of a rifle, and seemingly the gunner was not fifty yards from where my contemplations ended and my accelerated transit began.”

President Lincoln lost his hat in the encounter and when it was returned by a soldier it had a bullet hole in its crown.

A 24-hour security detail of four Metropolitan Police Officers was formed in response to this assassination attempt.

Fatefully, that detail included Officer John Fredrick Parker.


Here is a more detail account about a Bullet thought Lincoln's hat... Lincoln jokes it off...

Link:
The Shot Through Abraham Lincoln's Hat

In August 1864 a sniper apparently tried to assassinate Abraham Lincoln. One day at the White House Lincoln told the following story to this good friend, Ward Hill Lamon:
"Last night about eleven o'clock, I went to the Soldiers' Home alone, riding Old Abe, as you call him (a horse he delighted in riding), and when I arrived at the foot of the hill on the road leading to the entrance to the Home grounds, I was jogging along at a slow gait, immersed in deep thought, contemplating what was next to happen in the unsettled state of affairs, when suddenly I was aroused–I may say the arousement lifted me out of my saddle as well as out of my wits–by the report of a rifle, and seemingly the gunner was not fifty yards from where my contemplations ended and my accelerated transit began. My erratic namesake, with little warning, gave proof of decided dissatisfaction at the racket, and with one reckless bound he unceremoniously separated me from my eight-dollar plug hat, with which I parted company without any assent, express or implied, upon my part. At a break-neck speed we soon arrived in a haven of safety. Meanwhile I was left in doubt whether death was more desirable from being thrown from a runaway federal horse, or as the tragic result of a rifle-ball fired by a disloyal bushwhacker in the middle of the night."


Independent confirmation of Lamon's story came from Private John W. Nichols (pictured left and below) of Company K, 150th Pennsylvania Volunteers. Quoting from Matthew Pinsker's Lincoln's Sanctuary: Abraham Lincoln and the Soldiers' Home:

"About eleven o'clock one night, Private John W. Nichols of Company K was on guard duty at the large gate on the edge of the institution's grounds when he heard a rifle shot and then witnessed the "bareheaded" president riding quickly on horseback toward his cottage. Private Nichols asked the president about his missing hat and was told that "somebody had fired a gun off at the foot of the hill" which frightened Lincoln's horse and then led to a struggle to regain control that had "jerked his hat off." Concerned, Nichols recalled years later that he and another member of the company went down the twisting driveway toward the main road where they discovered the president's signature silk plug hat with a bullet hole through the crown. The next day Nichols claimed that he returned the item to the president, who assured him "rather unconcernedly" that the whole episode was the product of "some foolish gunner" and that he wanted the matter "kept quiet."

Whoever fired the shot remains a mystery to this day.
 

diane

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What do you think about Pinkerton's Kate Warne? I think she should have been standing outside the door at Ford's theater. Pinkerton kept misleading McClellan over numbers but seemed to get it together when protecting someone - especially with this gal. She got Lincoln safely into Washington.

I've wondered about Parker's absence and just about decided he simply thought the president was going to be fine - the war was over, after all. Slipshod and derelict of duty for sure, but no malice or conspiracy on his part.

Booth was sure busy the few days before his crime haunting the Grants. Julia saw him twice stalking her and the children and demanded to go back home. Grant, who had had an unpleasant encounter with Booth himself, decided all right and off they went on a train. Again - security wasn't an issue to him but it was to Julia. They had a guard outside their door. Later Grant got a message from somebody saying he was supposed to kill the general but couldn't get past the guard. Grant said, hmmm! and went on about his business. Sherman, too, received a death threat but shrugged it off - get in line, pal! Hard to scare soldiers by threatening to kill them.
 

5fish

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Here is Lincoln's trip to D.C. for his inauguration... a list of where the train went and stopped and... click on each city they describe the event that happened there with Lincoln...

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On February 11-23, 1861 Abraham Lincoln made his inaugural journey from Springfield, IL to Washington, DC. He stopped and made remarks at sixteen cities and towns.Those cities include Springfield, Illinois; Indianapolis, Indiana; Cincinnati, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Cleveland, Ohio; Westfield, New York; Buffalo, New York; Albany, New York; Peekskill, New York; New York, New York; Trenton, New Jersey; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Baltimore, Maryland; and, Washington, DC.
 

5fish

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Lincoln could have lived today but would have been in a vegetative state.

 
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