Part 3—The British Kill Abraham Lincoln
What is today referred to as the “Civil War” in the United States is a blatant misnomer. What occurred in America between 1861 and 1865 was explicitly a “proxy war,” exactly as what we see today in the Ukraine. Just as the Anglo-American/NATO elite are now waging war against Russia through Ukraine, in 1861 the British Empire waged war against the United States through the Confederacy. For four years, the British financed the Confederacy; they armed the Confederacy; they built the Confederacy’s navy; they even fed the Confederacy’s soldiers. The Confederacy was just as much a puppet as Volodymyr Zelensky is today. During the war, Confederate agents repeatedly went to London to beg for more aid, just as Zelensky now comes to Washington, DC. The British never deployed their own troops, but they ensured that the Confederate army would stay in the field for four long years, and bleed America dry.
During the Civil War, the Confederate government developed a very extensive Secret Intelligence Service, headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, but with two other vital branches, one in Montreal, Canada and the other in London, England, both on the soil of the British Empire. The operations of this intelligence service were tightly integrated with the intentions of the British oligarchy which protected it. In Richmond, the Confederate Secret Service was headed by Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin, who was born a British subject in the West Indies. In London, the key figure was James D. Bulloch, uncle of the later U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt. Together, these two men coordinated the supply of British rifles, British naval vessels, and British gold to the Confederate armed forces, and it was from this network that the assassination of Abraham Lincoln was carried out.
The Proxy War
On May 13, 1861, shortly after the news of the firing on Fort Sumter reached London, Queen Victoria issued a “Proclamation of Neutrality,” which recognized that a state of war existed between the Union and the Confederacy. She did not formally recognize southern independence, but she recognized that the South and the North were two separate entities and that the South had what was called a “right of belligerency” versus the Union. This gave the British government legal cover for their subsequent actions.
Despite howls to the contrary, without British military aid, the southern rebellion would have collapsed within one year. By 1862 the pre-war military supplies of the South had been exhausted, and from that day forward the bulk of the Confederate Army’s weapons were supplied by British armament manufacturers and shipped to the Confederacy from Liverpool and other locations.
When the Confederate garrison of 30,000 men surrendered at Vicksburg in 1863, General Ulysses Grant found that they had all been armed with new British Enfield Rifles. Later, at the Siege of Petersburg, Grant discovered that all the Confederate ammunition had been shipped from the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich, England. During the war, at least 400,000 rifles were shipped from Britain to the Confederacy. These came from numerous British arms manufacturers and were shipped to the Confederate government by the Birmingham Small Arms Trade (BSAT) and the London Armoury Corporation, both of which had intimate connections to the highest levels of the House of Lords and Queen Victoria’s Privy Council.
In 1863, at the Battle of Gettysburg, Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was equipped almost entirely with British rifles. The Union soldiers who died on that battlefield were gunned down by weapons made in Britain. And it was not only weapons. By 1864-1865 Lee’s army was surviving almost entirely on British provisions. During the Battle of the Wilderness and the later fighting around Petersburg and Richmond, the primary dietary staple of the Confederate Army was British bacon shipped in through Wilmington, North Carolina.
The Confederate Navy
During the war, the Confederate government built a sizable number of “Blockade Runners,” as well as a small fleet of Confederate warships known as “Commerce Raiders.” All the warships and most of the blockade runners were built in British shipyards or built elsewhere with financing that came from the City of London. The two key figures in the creation of the Confederate Navy were James Bulloch and George Trenholm. Bulloch was the Confederacy’s chief foreign agent in Great Britain during the American Civil War. Bulloch and Trenholm were on intimate terms with leading members of the British financial establishment, Parliament, and Lord Palmerston’s government. Many London financiers provided loans to Bulloch and Trenholm to finance their operations.
George Trenholm, one of the wealthiest slave owners in the South, owned a firm called Fraser, Trenholm, & Company, which became the Confederacy's international banker. During the War, Fraser, Trenholm, & Company maintained two headquarters, one in Liverpool and a second in the Bahamas, thus operating entirely on British imperial soil.
The other thing that Bulloch and Trenholm were deeply involved in was the creation and financing of the Confederate Intelligence Service. Together with another individual, George Sanders, they created and steered Confederate intelligence operations in Canada, including direct payments to John Wilkes Booth. Booth, himself, traveled back and forth to Canada on British-financed blockade runners. Trenholm provided more than $1 million to Confederate agent Jacob Thompson in Montreal, part of which funds were used to finance Booth’s operations. From England, James Bullock provided additional funds.
Lord Palmerston (Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston) served as British Prime Minister for nine of the ten years from 1855 to 1865, and he had been near the pinnacle of power since 1830. He was the most powerful British statesman of his day, who among other things fiercely supported the second Opium War against China and helped impose genocide against the people of Ireland.
Palmerston also created world-wide British intelligence operations. Today, many people think of “spying” as some sort of James Bond fantasy, but what Palmerston developed was “Cultural Warfare.” He sponsored and developed a network of revolutionary movements across Europe. The key operative in Palmerston’s scheme was a man named Giuseppe Mazzini. The Italian Mazzini spent almost the entirety of his adult life living in London, under the protection of the British Crown. Lord Palmerston directed his efforts. Mazzini created a series of revolutionary organizations across Europe, which went under such names as Young Europe, Young Russia, Young Italy, Young Hungary, etc. These groups fomented uprisings, riots, and revolutions. Mazzini’s projects were financed directly through the Admiralty and the Foreign Office, so he was in every sense a British agent, as the paystubs prove.
In 1845, an American disciple of Mazzini named Edwin de Leon, from South Carolina, founded the “Young America” movement. This was simply another of the Palmerston/Mazzini intelligence projects. Later, during the Civil War, de Leon would become one of the leaders of the Confederate espionage organization in Europe. The Young America movement of the 1840s was characterized by a deep hostility to the American Republic. It attacked the “tyranny” of the federal government, and it imported from Europe the Mazzini-spawned notion of “resistance to oppression.” By the 1850s, thousands of young southern men had flocked to Young America, finding in it a political and philosophical justification for the “Southern Cause” against the “oppressive North.” It was out of Young America that the Knights of the Golden Circle was created, and the Knights provided many of the foot-soldiers agitating for southern secession.
In 1851 a man named George N. Sanders became head of Young America. Sanders was a wealthy and very highly placed southerner. As the head of Young America, he traveled to London, was wined, and dined by the friends of Lord Palmerston and held numerous intimate discussions with Mazzini, Garibaldi, Kossuth, and many individuals who operated as Palmerston’s agents. During the Civil War, Sanders would become a high-ranking operative in the Confederate Intelligence Service. From 1862 to 1864 he lived in England, helping Trenholm and Bulloch build ships for the Confederacy. Then, in 1864, with $5 million supplied by Jefferson Davis, he moved to Montreal and took charge of all Confederate intelligence operations there, including all contacts with John Wilkes Booth.
John Wilkes Booth—British/Confederate Agent
A pro-slavery southerner, as a teenager, Booth became active in the milieu of Mazzini’s Young America movement, and in 1858 he joined the Knights of the Golden Circle. Much of Booth’s life is shrouded in obscurity, but it is clear that by no later than 1862-1863, the young Booth had been recruited as an operative of the Confederate Secret Service. During the War, Booth’s case officer was the same George Sanders discussed immediately above, the intimate of Mazzini and the head of the Confederate Secret Service in Canada.
During the war, Booth made two trips to Montreal to meet with Sanders and other Confederate intelligence agents. In Montreal, Sanders supplied him with funds, forwarded from London by James Bulloch, to finance his operations. On July 26, 1864, Booth attended a secret conference at the Parker House in Boston. In attendance were three Confederate agents from Canada. From there he returned to Baltimore and began recruiting volunteers in a plot to kidnap Lincoln. It is clear that this is the project assigned to Booth at the Boston meeting. Between November 1864 and March of 1865, Booth’s actions become frenetic. He visits New York City and Boston more than a dozen times for secret meetings. Canadian operatives are at many of these meetings. His actions bear the unmistakable spoor of highly disciplined intelligence agent who is being monitored and deployed from above.
The involvement of the Confederate government in this plot is proven. Numerous letters and first-hand accounts show conclusively that Jefferson Davis, Judah Benjamin, and Robert E. Lee, were all involved in the kidnaping plot. After Booth’s death, a “decoding” sheet—used for secret communication—was found in Booth’s personal trunk, and a matching coding device was found in Judah Benjamin’s Richmond office. John Surratt, who confessed in 1870 to plotting with Booth to kidnap Lincoln, reported that he had carried both money and messages back-and-forth between Booth and Benjamin.
The Canada-based Plot to Murder the American President
In 1864, Jefferson Davis sent a man named Jacob Thompson to Canada. Thompson was given $1 million by George Trenholm to conduct dirty tricks, and he received additional funding directly from the British financier Edward Watkins in London. Along with another Confederate agent, Clement Clay, Thompson conducted numerous operations. In late 1864, Thompson and Clay were joined in Montreal by George Sanders, who arrived from London with $5 million raised by James Bulloch. From the day he arrived, Sanders took charge of personal contacts with John Wilkes Booth, and he met with Booth at least twice in Montreal—once for more than 10 days—as well as at least once, clandestinely, in New York.
Arriving back in Washington after meeting with agents of this Canada-based spy ring in Boston, on March 17, 1865, Booth and his conspirators attempted to kidnap Lincoln at the Campbell Hospital in Washington DC, but due to faulty intelligence the attempt failed. After this fiasco, it became clear that the plan to kidnap Lincoln and transport him out of the capital must be abandoned. The situation facing the South was now desperate. Richmond had fallen to the Union army on April 3, and Lee would surrender to Grant on April 9. The ostensible reason to kidnap Lincoln—to force the north to release tens of thousands of Confederate POWs—would not help the South now.
On the other hand, an act of Revolutionary Violence—the simultaneous assassinations of Lincoln, Johnson, and Seward—might decapitate the Union command structure and plunge the Union into chaos. Remember that Booth’s controller was George Sanders, and Sanders had proclaimed himself as an adherent of Mazzini’s “theory of the dagger.” He had voiced on numerous occasions, both in London and America, his support for political assassination against oppressive “tyrants,” and he had frequently expressed his admiration for the French Revolution’s Maximilien Robespierre, Jean-Paul Marat and others who had “cut off the heads” of anyone who stood in the way of “regeneration.”
In early April, Booth traveled again to New York City for a series of meetings, meeting again with Confederate agents from Canada. On April 8, 1865, he arrives back in Washington DC, directly from these clandestine meetings. Lincoln is assassinated six days later.
It’s the British, Stupid!
On May 2, 1865, eighteen days after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, President Andrew Johnson issued a proclamation, which said in part:
“It appears from evidence in the Bureau of Military Justice that the atrocious murder of the late President Abraham Lincoln, and the attempted assassination of the Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, were incited, concerted, and procured by and between Jefferson Davis, late of Richmond, Va., and Jacob Thompson, Clement C. Clay, Beverly Tucker, George N. Sanders, William C. Cleary, and other rebels and traitors against the Government of the United States harbored in Canada.”
All the individuals whose names are highlighted in boldface in the above proclamation were Canada-based members of the Confederate Secret Service. The entire Montreal operation was financed by money sent over from London. Additionally, on the same day that proclamation was issued, President Johnson offered a $25,000 reward for the arrest of George Sanders, as the alleged ringleader of the plot.
None of these conspirators were ever brought to justice. Instead, seven of the lower-level agents that Booth had recruited to the plot were arrested and tried, and four were executed. Booth himself was hunted down and killed. But among the higher-level conspirators:
- Judah Benjamin, the head of the Confederate Secret Service, fled to England after Lee’s surrender and spent the rest of his life there. He legally reclaimed his British citizenship, established a very prestigious legal practice, and appeared often at both the House of Lords and Queen Victoria’s Privy Council.
- George N. Sanders – following the assassination of Lincoln, and with a $25,000 bounty on his head, Sanders fled to Canada and then to London. He remained in Europe, until he was dying in 1873 when he returned to the United States.
- James D. Bulloch, Teddy Roosevelt’s favorite uncle, never left England, dying there in 1901. As the head of the Confederacy’s Secret Service in England and due to suspicion, that he had been involved in the Lincoln assassination, he was not included in the general amnesty declared by Andrew Johnson. Highly connected to City of London financial circles, he ran a profitable business for decades.
- Jefferson Davis was imprisoned for two years at the conclusion of the Civil War. When released he went immediately to Montreal, the site of the plot to assassinate Lincoln, where he was given a hero’s welcome, with a parade held in his honor. From there he went to London, where he remained until the amnesty of 1868, at which point he returned to the United States.