James William Boyd

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Cobra Dave

Sep 18, 2015
When did the exhumation & what inspecting was done?
Are you referring to when the government returned the remains to his family?
The common knowledge explanation is that the remains were exhumed from the jail cell by the government employees , left leg fracture/break verified, and the remains transferred to the family vault.

The family descendants petitioned the court for a retrieval of DNA tissue for genetic comparison to descendent sample.

Why the court denied, I would not have a clue; but, the belief of Booth's escape goes on as popular tale.

If it is shown that Boyd escaped to Jackson, TN or beyond, the Tale comes to a screeching halt.

Without family DNA, photo analysis may be the best way to prove how a covert operator managed to escape. His activities were recorded.

Cobra Dave

Sep 18, 2015
Outline of Key James Wm. Boyd Issues
David C. Dial, 2015- 2016 More detail to follow- loss of files due to corruption will require update to the level reached in 2018. More to follow.
From the sources of:
The National Archives government and military records and correspondence of the Civil War and digitally scanned (copyright) by Cornell University for all military accounts of the Civil War, et.al. Various sources provided copies of the pdf versions Series I thru IV of the “War of the Rebellion” documents, 142 volumes through Series IV.
The many sources of collected conjectures surrounding the Lincoln Assassination Conspiracy including the Army’s trial records.
The "Pursuit and Death of John Wilkes Booth" by Prentiss Ingraham as published originally in "The Century", January, 1890 and Copyright © 2005 Michael Goad All rights reserved.
Dr. Christine Miller, Department of General Education Davenport University: quoted article found on "Civil War Talk" internet web site. The memoirs of Col. John Mosby withheld until after his death in 1916, to be published in the Baltimore Sun. In an interview to Carolyn Harper Long of the Baltimore Sun, held until the release of Long's estate. Miller: (This article was copyright by Beth Rhoades in the Baltimore Sun in 1920. Mosby had asked Caroline not to publish it until after his death, which she thought a little unfair, since they were about the same age. Beth Rhoades was her executor.)
Preliminary Outline, 2016:
1861- 1862 James Wm. Boyd's early career in western Mississippi and Tennessee
1. According to 1931 letter in response to an inquiry concerning James' son, George, U. S. Army records indicated the Confederate Army recording a few facts for this Boyd: Enlisting in the Sixth Tennessee, Co. F, May 15th at Camp Fair, Madrid, Mo.; mustered in Aug. 12, 1861, as a Lieutenant, Company F of the Sixth Tennessee Infantry, at New Madrid, Mo. He was cashiered out of the regular unit on Dec. 19, 1861.
2. From his letter to Sec. of War Stanton, he became a Scout with General Villepigue, and, by association of command-
3. Captain of Scouts with General Van Dorn - Gen. Van Dorn (from Texas) had been to Virginia and had an association with the Black Horse Cavalry.
4. Scouting activities included potential spying functions as part of gathering intelligence on enemy numbers and movements and were considered to be "spies". U. S. Army records report that he was paid for "special services" during the period Aug. 2 and Oct. 6, 1862 (the period of time leading to the Battle of Corinth.
5. James Wm. Boyd was in the Tennessee/Mississippi theater until after the battle of Corinth and after his meeting "Col. W" at Grenada, Ms. His selection by (suggestion of Van Dorn or) Col. Lomax would have taken him to northern Virginia in late December. The raid on Holly Springs would have occupied his efforts well into January of 1863. If Mosby and Lomax respected his abilities to train their cavalry, the 43rd Virginia Cav. would not have been functional in early 1863.
6. Maj. Gen. Van Dorn led the raid on Holly Springs, Mississippi at the end of December, 1862. The objective of the raid was the destruction of the stores of supply destined for Gen. Sherman's assault of Vicksburg. This raid set back the taking of Vicksburg by six to eight months.
7. Dr. Wirtz was relieved of duty Gen. Grant's Corps' Surgeon position, by order of Grant, on January 21, 1863, after the Surgeon's report of the raid was submitted. Dr. Wirtz had reported "war crimes" by Van Dorn's officers and men and a total destruction of the medical supplies. See the "letter to Sec. of War Stanton", 1864. General U. S. Grant had suspicions of two individuals in allowing the raid.
8. Because of the circumstances surrounding suspicions (?) of Dr. Wirtz, Grant issued a General Order confining medical doctors to their respective headquarters area.
1861-1862 Wm. H. Boyd ( Union Officer; not our subject, James Wm. Boyd) in Virginia and West Virginia
9. William H. Boyd served in the Union (Federal) Army, arriving in the northern Virginia/Maryland region as early as August, 1861, as part of the force guarding Washington D. C. He was in command of Company "C" of the First New York Cavalry Regiment. The regiment, commanded by Col. A. T. McReynolds, was in the Franklin Division, Brig. Gen. William B. Franklin.
10. Originally, the regiment known as the "Lincoln Cavalry", the First New York were stationed near Alexandria, Va., about two miles west of Mt. Vernon. The records of the “Adjutant General of the State of New York” provided details of the personnel appearing in the archives.
11. Wm. H. Boyd's first reported action against the Rebels was preceded by a short summary by the commanding General. Boyd's report proved to be an example of a "professionally written" account of the missions' results. He signed his report as "Captain Company C, Lincoln Cavalry". His writing style would have been the envy of most of the General staff. General Franklin was obviously ready to associate himself in the reports of the early successes of Captain Wm. H. Boyd.
12. William H. Boyd's first notable account comes at the end of November, 1861. An encounter with a Rebel force (a skirmish) near Fairfax Court-House resulted in his report describing, in detail, his leading two cavalry companies in the defeat of a well planned ambush. The narrative was delivered in an extremely well-written style. He continues his report with the squadron's return to camp along the Falls Church direction and encountering a challenge from friendly outpost lines after dark. There was considerable confusion in convincing the nervous guard post unit, a "picket", that they were actually a friendly cavalry unit. He proposed that a force of cavalry and infantry could be bivouacked outside of friendly lines and gain control of Fairfax Court-House area. Captain William H. Boyd suggested that a system of signal words could be used to identify that "friendly forces" might be able recognize each other when visibility was poor. The report is signed off as "Captain, First N. Y. Volunteer Cavalry, late Lincoln Cavalry" and forwarded by "Alexandria Division"; indorsed by Brig.-Gen. W. B. Franklin.
This report went straight to the top of command and receives a Special Orders commendation from Maj.-Gen. McClellan. In the early part of 1862, several communications between other, various commands discussed the coordination of using the "passwords".
13. William H. Boyd was obviously the originator of this coded communication concept, making him one of the most well known captains in the Union Army's Virginia operations area and in the General Command.
14. Col. A. T. McReynolds realized that if he is to gain any recognition for the exploits of HIS First New York Cavalry, he must write the reports of Boyd's actions against the Rebel forces. Wm. H. Boyd is McReynold's key figure in the reports of military successes until late October 1862 when he disappears from McReynolds' reports.
Col. John Mosby's observations of Captain Boyd appear to attribute greater value than would normally be accorded to a training officer . A warrior reaching the fame and stature such as Mosby's, for his own harrowing action in combat, recognizes, mainly, those who have demonstrated an equal ability to accept the possibilities of risk in the life or death environment.
15. Mosby stated that Boyd's "Linville Rangers" had not been commissioned as a C.S.A. cavalry component.
Col. Mosby was very admirable in his description of James William Boyd and his ability to teach scouting skills to the cavalry soldiers of Lomax's command, including the use of telegraph communications.
16. Mosby's statement and additional memoir accounts of Boyd to the reporter from the Baltimore Sun formed the elementary lead in examining archive records of military activities in northern Virginia from late 1862 through the Gettysburg Campaign, July, 1863.
17. Following the lead of Mosby's statements about James Wm. Boyd, the possibility of Boyd's participation in activities in the Northern Virginia campaign in some capacity aiding Mosby. Mosby only said that the Linville Partisans had not received a commission as a Confederate military unit. No one knows who Captain Boyd had trained to become this fighting force.
(Mosby was a rising Rebel officer, man-of-action during the winter and spring of 1863. He was well known to the Union Army, his exploits- legendary.)
18. R. E. Lee recognized the potential of a behind-the-lines operation with Mosby and had great expectations of another aggressive unit- the Black Horse Cavalry.
The screening force of Gettysburg, Spring to July 12, 1863- Captain Boyd Infiltrating the Union Army:
19. The first appearance of "Captain Boyd" about ten days after the decimation of Mosby's unit. Mosby had been caught by a Union cavalry unit riding to the rescue of an outpost under attack by Mosby. Mosby was caught using some of his men wearing Federal army uniforms.
20. Robert E. Lee had communicated to Richmond that the commander of the Black Horse Cavalry was having trouble in having an ability to penetrate Union lines to an extent beyond five miles. Lee may have suggested a mission for those men of the Black Horse willing to risk riding into the midst of the Northern troops, dressed in their uniforms. Reference 035, the fate of William Orton Williams, alias Lawrence Orton Williams, alias Colonel Lawrence W. Anton. Tried and convicted by the military court one day, hanged the next.
21. Boyd’s entrance into Milroy's division was partially facilitated by the division's re-organization.
22. The assignment to cover Maj.-Gen. Milroy's supply wagons’ retreat to Williamsport was given to “Capt. Boyd”. Boyd left a message from Milroy at Martinsburg telling that he would fight to the end. The situation at Winchester required a retreat after midnight of the 14th.
23. Boyd, guiding the five hundred wagon supply train to Williamsburg, went on to Chambersburg on the 15th of June. From Chapter XIII of the records, entries recovered too late to be included in the appropriate chapter, Major-General Robert Schenck ordered “William H. Boyd” to leave Chambersburg on June 16th. That document was probably withheld by Milroy’s Court-of-Inquiry. It was the wrong Boyd; Chapter LIII includes the late entry copy of that telegram. Wm. H. Boyd was promoted to the rank of “Major” on July 4th, 1863 in Harrisburg; the day after Gettysburg, in the city of Maj-Gen Couch’s HQ.
24. Major-General Couch was expecting the supply train to reach Harrisburg, Couches headquarters.
25. A Rebel force enters and occupied Chambersburg on the 15th of June, as did “Capt. Boyd’s” train.
26. The supply train, with about two hundred wagons, reaches Carlisle, Pa. on July 1st after staying in Churchville overnight, about 6 miles East and South of Carlisle. Captain Boyd was in or near Chambersburg for two weeks.
27. July 1st through the 3rd centered on the events of the Gettysburg Battle, including intimidation of reinforcements moving in the southwesterly direction out of Harrisburg. Blocking forces kept General Couch from advancing from Harrisburg by crossing the Susquehanna River south of the city. Brigadier-General Wm. F. Smith advanced as far as Carlisle and reported the exploits of Captain Boyd and gave recognition to his volunteer aide, Lieutenant Samuel Carey.
28. A history of "The Black Horse Cavalry" by Col. John Scott, Philadelphia. 1878, places the Black Horse Cavalry at Carlisle on July 1st, 1863; the same day that Capt. Boyd delivered the remaining 200 wagons.
29. Captain Boyd was "capturing" wagons and prisoners while in pursuit of the rear of the retreating Lee force.
30. "Captain Boyd" contacted Maj.- Gen. Darius N. Couch with information concerning the withdrawal route of R. E. Lee based on his close observations. Boyd was also in touch with those Generals leading the pursuit forces. In his final communication to General Couch he signed off as "Wm. H. Boyd". Telegraph was a new method of communications and was only as reliable as the information tapped into the line. The location of the sender was only as reliable as what the sender claimed. General Couch replied that Boyd needed to round up lost Rebel troops in the area leading back to Harrisburg; Couch telegraphed his unit commanders that Boyd might be trailing General Lee and that he must not be allowed to do that; he stated that Wm. H. Boyd was in that command. Signing off as the well known William H. Boyd, originator of the "Password- Counter password system" was a thumb-nose to Couch. Captain Boyd telegraphed "Captain" Carey (the Lieutenant that served as a volunteer aide to General Smith) to let him know that reinforcements were to arrive at his location the next morning. Change of rank is the alarm- "Pack up and move out".
31. But, why is the "Captain Boyd" of this element of the First New York Cavalry even possibly the Boyd to whom Mosby withheld from his memoirs until General Lomax was deceased and his own end was near? They did not want to face the public as possible co-conspirators in the later exploits of Boyd, the special operations force of the Confederate Civil War.
32. Major-General Robert Milroy was the subject of a military Court of Inquiry following the Gettysburg conflagration. The Court called as witnesses all of those in Milroy's command having any knowledge of the movement of government supplies and personnel in the retreat from Winchester, Va. The Court specified that testimony/deposition was required of all officers of the First New York Cavalry. Colonel William H. Boyd was never mentioned as a respondent , nor was he required to appear before the Court.
Mosby's last thought of Boyd was that of hearing that he had been captured before reaching home.
33. Citing other documents that have been filed in depositories having only personal access, other historians and writers have created a common knowledge indicating that James William Boyd was arrested in Jackson, Tennessee by the Nation Detective Police on either the first of August or the first of September, 1863. The War Department's 1931 letter, sent to Harry Boyd, Madill, Okla., states that Boyd was captured in Jackson, Tenn. on August 1st, 1863.
34. A skilled horseman could make the trip from Northern Virginia to Jackson, Tenn. at a rate of a little better than 60 miles per day and avoid detection by elements of the Union army in Eastern Tenn.; both requirements being a greater part of his special skills
35. Boyd had something to trade; the National Detective Police had probable cause for trying Boyd on spy charges, either in general, as a scout, or something more egregious. Spies proven to have worn, or been caught while wearing the uniform of the opposing force were usually tried on one day and executed the next.
36. He was transferred to his first of four prisoner of war camps from Memphis. U.S. Army P.O.W. documents state that Captain Boyd became a prisoner of war on October 1, 1863.
37. General Hurlbut's October 1st, 1863, reported of a captured "Scout" (no name), recently returned from the "South". His report does not give any details of the Scout but, appears to have taken some time to assess the information in hand. Gen. Hurlbut telegraphed the report on the same day that the Army officially records Boyd's capture, whether in Memphis or Johnson's Island, Ohio.
38. What Gen. Hurlbut has forwarded to the highest command is a report of key Confederate installations, fortifications, and manufacturing operations located across the South.
39. Strategically, the information points to the locations and activities of the Rebel war machine. Tactically, the report gives information about avoiding fortification defenses how to gain entry to key cities. The only logical way to put such information to good use is to determine the overwhelming force necessary to capture with the least loss of life.
40. James Wm. Boyd remained at Johnson's Island until April 22, 1864 then was moved to Point Lookout, Md. He was then forwarded to Fort Delaware on the 23rd of June, '64 and on to Hilton Head South Carolina, August 20, 1864. When Boyd was transferred to Hilton Head, South Carolina, he was near the headquarters location of the reinstated Dr. Wirtz. Knowing this surgeon from his time in Grenada, Miss. was a stroke of luck for Captain Boyd; he had strong information about Dr. Wirtz, Holly Springs, and knew that Wirtz had made some kind of deal that may have lead to the raid. It was also information that pointed away from his associations in Virginia!
41. The War Dept. requests Boyd's transfer to Washington by letter. He was moved, under this order, to "Old Capitol Prison" on October 21st, 1864. His letter to Stanton (Feb. 14, 1865) tells of his involvement with the mysterious Col. "W" and that he had given a deposition to local D.C. military provost authorities.
Release from P.O.W. captivity
42. The Feb. 14, 1865 letter of appeal to the Secretary of War, Stanton, purpose and intent. Statements made in his letter to Stanton, requesting release from prison, centered on activities and association with the mysterious Col. "W" ( Dr. Wirtz) and the raid on Holly Springs, MS. Boyd stated nothing about being in the area of the 43rd Virginia Cavalry or anything about the northern Virginia theater of the Civil War.
43. Captain Boyd insists that, if released, to return home to his orphan children, his further service to the Secretary of War must be on a condition of complete anonymity to provide the greatest effect.
44. The National Detective Police' list of captured or known "spies" does not show the name of James William Boyd. Boyd had requested complete anonymity in exchange for continued undercover service for the War Dept.
45. Stanton received a letter from the Governor of Michigan, forwarded by Sec. of Interior Seward. The letter told of Rebel troops in Canada and the potential for reentry across the Detroit River and about a reported large amount of money held in Toronto's bank. Seward was the target of one of the assassination attempts made at the time of Booth's shooting of President Lincoln.
46. Allegiance Ceremony: Boyd's only known photo was taken, probably in December of 1864, towards the end of his captivity. From the setting of the photo, it appears to be on the occasion of his swearing of the oath to the United States. The Bible was removed from its stand but his right hand rests in its place. He is shown wearing an undersized Union Army tunic jacket over, what appears to be his gray uniform; he is holding a Union cap in his relaxed left hand, his weight is carried by his right leg. This under-sizing of an oath ceremony uniform, having no rank, appears to add to the belittling of a C.S.A. officer.
47. Stanton's one hour meeting with Boyd. Another mission to Toronto and the bank? Stanton may have had another mission for the Southern agent. Boyd's letter from "Old Capitol Prison" to Stanton discusses the Tenn./ Miss. war theater, only. Stanton personally released Boyd on Feb. 14, 1865 on the grounds of family hardship. But, the Confederacy had money in bank. Boyd was still in the immediate area of D. C. and was observed by one military cavalry patrol during the hunt for Booth.
The Lincoln assassination and the hunt for John Wilkes Booth
48. Many quoted records remain as semi-private property of historical researchers and writers. Some of those records cited created the interpretation of Boyd depicted in "Dark Union". James Wm. Boyd was depicted as a Lincoln capture or kill conspirator. The only logical event to aid the South would be the capture scenario. Lincoln as a hostage, captured and transported to Richmond could possibly have kept the North from burning the city to the ground; "punishment" on Gen. Sherman's level.
49. Col. Mosby stated that Boyd had trained John Wilkes Booth...and then Booth shot Lincoln. The separation of the objective, was not clarified in his reported addition to memoirs.
50. Neither Mosby nor Lomax would have wanted their names associated with the assassination, at any time in history. It was clear that the late General Lomax and Col. Mosby did not want publicity in the matter of the objective as long as they lived. They had collaborated on releasing information about Boyd and the knowledge of a mission- the intent to kidnap Lincoln; but only after they were deceased. The separation of Booth's assignment and training indicates that Booth had not followed his orders.
51. Logically, a few Confederate military leaders were aware of the plan to kidnap the President. Yes, the Rebels were very upset at the "unethical" objective of the Dahlgren Raid during the assault on Richmond; the idea of murdering the government of the Confederacy was reprehensible. They would have realized that a last minute idea of killing Lincoln would result in an absolute forfeiture of the desired result and any hope for unity following the R. E. Lee surrender at Appomattox. And, ultimately, Union forces burned Richmond to the ground.
52. But, Mosby told the reporter from the Baltimore Sun, in his secreted memoirs, that Boyd was a "double agent" without clarifying the identity of the Master Beneficiary. Who was Boyd really working for? He had sworn his oath to serve as a Confederate officer for his compatriots. Boyd had a mission; one that required his capture and serving time in captivity. He did not tell his captives that he had a reason to be captured.
53. The chase to capture Booth involved rounding up any associates in the conspiracy.
54. Union cavalry were sent in pursuit of Booth. Conspiracy suspects were identified along the route of escape. The cavalry unit leading the hunt for Booth encountered "the limping man"; Captain Boyd was identified as that man. He was accompanied by a mild mannered man by the name of Henson (or Hynson, Hinson); the man accompanying the patient who visited Dr. Mudd was not Davie Herold, according to the Conspiracy Trial testimony. The idea that Booth and Boyd had exchanged traveling companions before reaching the Garrett farm borders on logical absurdity. The conspiracy trial witnesses placed Booth and Herold together for the escape from Ford Theater.
55. The entire boot, belonging to the patient whose left ankle was reset and placed in a cast, was found in Dr. Mudd's house. Dr. Mudd was convicted as a co-conspirator in the assassination based on the boot as evidence. The entire boot is on display at the Ford Museum, fully intact, and inscribed with the initials "J. W. B.". Booth's autopsy report describes Booth's bone bruise as crudely splinted with forest materials, not "cast" as sworn by Dr. Mudd; it is illogical that Booth would have accepted such a crude treatment from an "associate" and a professional medical professional. James William Boyd suffered with an ankle injury of his left foot from an injury during his NDP arrest in Jackson, Tenn. in August or September of 1863.
56. The account of the cavalry pursuit of Booth, according to those involved, as written by Col. Prentiss Ingraham (1890), is more logically an eyewitness account of the events leading to the burning of the Garrett's barn. Ingraham was a prolific writer of historical events surrounding well known characters of the post-Civil War period. Reports of his travels to the west surround his following of the exploits of Buffalo Bill Cody. Buffalo Bill was also an acquaintance of Captain Doherty. Cody had served as a scout for the Fifth Cavalry in Colorado in the same unit as Captain Doherty; the same Doherty who led the Army patrol that cornered Booth at the barn.
Prentiss Ingraham had been a classmate of John Wilkes Booth at a college in Maryland. His friends included two of the three Confederate soldiers (Captain Jett, deceased before the statements were made). Major Ruggles and Lieutenant Bainbridge and Jett were associates of the Mosby command. There was no coincidence in their being posted at the Rappahonock River ferry. Booth had violated the purpose of the mission and left Richmond to the perils of revenge as demonstrated by Maj.-General W. T. Sherman, the punisher.
After the war, Mosby worked for President U. S. Grant. Mosby was a family friend of the Pattons and had an early influence on Geo. S. Patton, Jr. Captain James Wm. Boyd, per his requirement of anonymity to work for Sec. of War Stanton, disappeared after the John Wilkes Booth chase; his injured ankle prevented any further pursuit of satisfaction.
Some have thought that Boyd was killed in Jackson, Tenn. on New Years Day, 1866. Ex-sheriff James Waters Boyd, born in Ireland in 1807, and having a feuding family member from McNary County, Tenn. seeking revenge on him, probably succumbed to revenge on that day. Historian Ray Neff's photo of the grave site shows a headstone bearing the dates 1807 - 1866.
I seriously doubt that James William Boyd was finished.
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