Things have been a bit quiet here on LincolnConspirators.com. At the beginning of the year, I took a break from my daily Lincoln assassination tweets. I had completed a full year minus a few days at the end of April when I was busy getting married (excuses, excuses). Eventually, I will complete the monumental task of converting all of those tweets into plain text and images so that they can be housed here on my site in a more user friendly way. I’ll be working on that project in the future.
Of late, however, my limited free time has been devoted to researching Fort Jefferson and the time the convicted conspirators spent there from 1865 – 1869. Next month, my wife Jen and I will be camping at Dry Tortugas National Park. This will be my second visit to the island fortress. During my previous trip, I attempted to shoot some videos around the fort talking about what life was like for the conspirators imprisoned there. Unfortunately, I was not prepared for the strong winds and noise reverberating nature of the fort. This resulted in very poor audio and made those initial videos unusable. For this trip, however, I’ve invested in a wireless microphone and am lucky to have the assistance of my podcaster wife who will help make sure my audio is up to snuff.
In preparation for the trip, I’ve been reading many books, articles and NPS documents about the history Fort Jefferson, trying my hardest to determine what the ever changing Fort was like during the conspirators’ imprisonment. I’ve been aided by some of the documents and images digitized by the National Archives and the Open Parks Network. For example, here is a drawing from the NARA showing what Fort Jefferson looked like in 1867. It’s a large file so you will probably want to click to enlarge it & view details:
You may notice that the legend mentions that photographs of the Fort were taken this year to show the progress of construction. The drawing has two spots marked A and B on Front 4 of the fort (the southwest side of the fort) from which the photographs were taken. By going through the NPS’s digitized collection of images at the Open Parks Network, I was able to determine that these were the 6 photographs taken in 1867, right in the middle of the conspirators’ sentences:
These images provide a unique glimpse at the environment of post-war Fort Jefferson, just prior to when the Fort was struck by a Yellow Fever epidemic that claimed the life of conspirator Michael O’Laughlen and several soldiers.
I hope to be able to record informative and well researched videos while on Fort Jefferson and release them here after I get back (and do some editing). So, while things will likely continue to be quiet here, know that some big things are in the works.
Hopefully you will kayak over to Michael O’Laughlen burial site!