Did Grant express regret?

Bonny Blue Flag

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Supposedly, Grant had expressed regret after Lincoln's assasination, for not being at Ford's Theatre with the Lincolns.

Is anyone familiar with this?

--BBF
 

diane

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I'm not sure if it was actually regret, but in his memoirs he did speculate a little. He wondered what would have happened if he had accepted the Lincolns' invitation to go.
 

LT.J.H.McDaniel

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I dont know about regret... Thats a stong word.. I think it was more of a "wish there was somthing i could do" rather than a "wish i was there" situation. Either way, im sure he felt saddned and greatly upset over the situation...
 

trice

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I'm not sure if it was actually regret, but in his memoirs he did speculate a little. He wondered what would have happened if he had accepted the Lincolns' invitation to go.

Booth had come with a single-shot derringer and a knife to kill these two, planning to shoot Lincoln and stab Grant. I imagine Booth would have found Grant a tougher proposition than he supposed for one thing. For another, I might guess that there actually would have been a guard outside the entrance to the compartment if Grant had been there with Lincoln. No assurance that tragedy doesn't happen anyway, of course.

Tim
 

brass napoleon

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Booth had come with a single-shot derringer and a knife to kill these two, planning to shoot Lincoln and stab Grant. I imagine Booth would have found Grant a tougher proposition than he supposed for one thing. For another, I might guess that there actually would have been a guard outside the entrance to the compartment if Grant had been there with Lincoln. No assurance that tragedy doesn't happen anyway, of course.

Tim

Actually there was a guard stationed outside the entrance to the box, John Parker. But he abandoned his post shortly after the play started and went to the bar nextdoor and started drinking. Had he remained at his post, the history of this country would probably have been much different.
 

Rebel from Finland

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Actually there was a guard stationed outside the entrance to the box, John Parker. But he abandoned his post shortly after the play started and went to the bar nextdoor and started drinking. Had he remained at his post, the history of this country would probably have been much different.
"Parker remained on the police force until 1868 when he was fired for sleeping on duty" He sure didn´t learn from his mistake at Ford...
 

trice

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Actually there was a guard stationed outside the entrance to the box, John Parker. But he abandoned his post shortly after the play started and went to the bar nextdoor and started drinking. Had he remained at his post, the history of this country would probably have been much different.

Yes. I just don't expect Grant would have had a guard who went absent from his post along. Might be only my imagination at work.

Tim
 

brass napoleon

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"Parker remained on the police force until 1868 when he was fired for sleeping on duty" He sure didn´t learn from his mistake at Ford...



I'll never understand why Parker was allowed to get away with it. IMO he deserved his own personal spot on the gallows beside Mary Surratt, et al.
 

diane

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That was my thinking, too - the guard would not have taken off if Grant had been present. He was well known to be intolerant of that kind of thing in the army. And, if Booth thought Grant would just sit there and let him stab him, he hadn't thought things through! Grant was small and I don't know of any instance where he actually got into a fight. But there was something that showed he'd fight - he got mad at a teamster who was abusing a horse and, when the guy got mouthy, flew off his horse and actually had to be restrained from decking him! This teamster was big, too, by the way, but Grant was furious. So, I would suspect Booth would have had a bit of trouble with him! (And Julia - Mary might have been hysterical but Julia was a different gal!)

I've always thought that's probably what Grant meant when he said he wondered what would have happened had he gone with Lincoln. I think he thought Lincoln would not have been shot - at least not that night.
 

Glorybound

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"Parker remained on the police force until 1868 when he was fired for sleeping on duty" He sure didn´t learn from his mistake at Ford...

Wow. I didn't know that. I can't believe the guy was allowed to stay on the force. Abandoning his post at the theater to go 'wet his whistle', meanwhile the president you were guarding gets shot. There might be worse screw-ups in law enforcement history, but I haven't heard of any that beats what this guy did. And he gets to keep his job.


Lee
 

damYankee

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I have always suspected Parker was the inside man. On a side note, Bill O'Reilly was on Leno the other night promoting his new book, Kill Lincoln, he said the Lincoln's son was dating Booths ex-love and that is what pushed Booth to carry out the deed. Thats the first I had heard this.
 

Greg Taylor

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Actually there was a guard stationed outside the entrance to the box, John Parker. But he abandoned his post shortly after the play started and went to the bar nextdoor and started drinking. Had he remained at his post, the history of this country would probably have been much different.
According to the Wiki link John Parker was charged with neglect of duty but the charges were dropped and he continued on with a law enforcement career. It seems very strange to me that he was not made a leper by this event and maybe even executed. I will need to look further until this case.
 

TerryB

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I have always suspected Parker was the inside man. On a side note, Bill O'Reilly was on Leno the other night promoting his new book, Kill Lincoln, he said the Lincoln's son was dating Booths ex-love and that is what pushed Booth to carry out the deed. Thats the first I had heard this.
That is new to me about Robert (?) being involved with one of Booth's many conquests. But I really do believe Booth went ballistic over Lincoln's plan to allow USCT's and other blacks to vote.

Parker being let off without so much as a slap on the wrist has always been highly suspicious. I wonder did he testify at the trials of the conspirators?
 

damYankee

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That is new to me about Robert (?) being involved with one of Booth's many conquests. But I really do believe Booth went ballistic over Lincoln's plan to allow USCT's and other blacks to vote.

Parker being let off without so much as a slap on the wrist has always been highly suspicious. I wonder did he testify at the trials of the conspirators?

I agree about Parker. I have not read O'Reilly's book but during the Leno interview he pressed the point that he and the co-author had uncovered new evidence that Todd was involved with Booths fiancé and that pushed Booth over the edge..
Maybe he was just selling books.
 

M E Wolf

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Greg Taylor, sir;

You wrote:
According to the Wiki link John Parker was charged with neglect of duty but the charges were dropped and he continued on with a law enforcement career. It seems very strange to me that he was not made a leper by this event and maybe even executed. I will need to look further until this case.

Belonging to the very same Metropolitan Police Department that officer John Parker was employed on long before I joined--was still the 'talk' of the academy of what 'stain' it was on the profession.

But, people need to remember that the Metropolitan Police Department was new. It was formed in 1864 and made up from civilians. All able men were in the Union Army, Invalid Corps. They had a total of 12 officers for around the clock patrol/watch. There weren't any real 'Police Manuals' per se as it was para-military. There was really no communications to speak of--if you had to take a personal break to relieve one's self--there really wasn't anybody nearby to spell you on an assignment. Been there myself--even in 1970's radios broke and not enough to issue to patrolling officers on a foot-beat. We didn't have cell phones that were portable/small--we had to walk to the call box and call in on a hourly basis and between then--you were on your own, nobody wouldn't look for you unless you missed a call in and that had to be at least a full hour miss. Some of my assigned beats had one call box, so I'd have to be back on that hour to call in. Really made it easy for a lookout to see my calling in as routine as blinking my eyes--however, that is how it was for me in the 70's. There were no such call boxes when Parker was assigned.

He was charged for "Neglect of Duty," however--to show intent in neglecting his duty was the problem. Back then, drinking wasn't a crime--you had to be so liquored up as to be dysfunctional. It was taught that Parker was allegedly drunk but not to the point of dysfunctional--and, again--we were told that how we were measuring intoxication and dysfunctional were not the same in 1864. Everybody drank socially--water fountains weren't drinking water fountains. Water and sewage mingled in the City of Washington. In addition you had military hospitals all over the City. And, yes he was 'cashiered' in 1868 for 'sleeping on duty.' The Metropolitan Police Department had increased its numbers and instituted a "Night Inspector," who's job it was to patrol at night and check on officers to see if they were indeed doing their duty, as well as more manuals/rules of how to conduct a police department.

It was interesting though to see the evolution of a three man "Guard Watch" --one person patrolling Washington, D.C., to six then twelve, etc.

But...in summary, I think it remains an embarrassment after 147 years has passed.

M. E. Wolf
Retired MPDC
 

diane

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Thanks for that post! I'd thought he was a military guard - but then Lincoln didn't like his military guard, did he? Then that nullifies Grant's presence as keeping him at his post. Grant had no authority over him. So, he would have been gone regardless.

By the way, didn't he actually get assigned to guard Mary Lincoln after the assassination? Wonder how that went! Did he really get that job? I certainly would object if I were her.
 

M E Wolf

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Diane, ma'am;

You wrote:
Thanks for that post! I'd thought he was a military guard - but then Lincoln didn't like his military guard, did he? Then that nullifies Grant's presence as keeping him at his post. Grant had no authority over him. So, he would have been gone regardless.

No military guard. President Lincoln frequently 'slipped' his Cavalry escort and though people wouldn't picture Lincoln as an excellent horseman--Grant saw him as one and wouldn't allow anybody on his Cincinnati except for Lincoln. Grant had a huge soft spot for horses like Lee. Lee and Grant hated seeing any harm done to horses, they would go into a fit seeing anybody abuse horses. But, back to Lincoln on his horse "Old Bob,"-- He would often ride and separate himself from his escort.

On Ford Theater pictures, it is post-assassination. There were plenty of armed soldiers then. Still considered a crime scene also. Owner of Ford's Theater was coincidentally in Richmond at the time.

Unknown if Parker was assigned to guard Mrs. Lincoln. I really didn't look into that when I was on limited duty (administrative duty nursing a on-duty injury).

M. E. Wolf

By the way, didn't he actually get assigned to guard Mary Lincoln after the assassination? Wonder how that went! Did he really get that job? I certainly would object if I were her.
 

donna

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The woman O'Reilly is talking about is Lucy Lambert Hale. She had many admirers including Booth, who she was secretly engaged, Robert Lincoln, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., John Hay, President Lincoln's secretary and she eventually married successful corporation lawyer William E. Chandler.

Her life is very interesting, will start a thread.
 
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