Thursday, August 6, 2020

Union Lincoln Assassin Sympathizers Face Punishment, April 15, 1865.

Not all Union men mourned the loss of their leader, President Lincoln.
A group of arrested Union Army Lincoln assassin sympathizers being guarded by Union soldiers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, April 15, 1865.
NOTE: The pencil inscription on the face of the picture mat says: "Assassination Sympathizers at Chattanooga on Receipt of the Assassination of Pres. Lincoln April 15th 1865."
The Nashville Press described this image shortly after it was taken on April 15, 1865. “We saw a photograph yesterday of ten men who were arrested at Chattanooga, Tennessee, last Sunday for expressing pleasure at hearing of the death of President Lincoln,” reported a correspondent, who added, “Upon the breast of each man was a tin plate with the words ‘Assassin Sympathizer’ painted on it.” The men were sentenced to labor on the streets in Chattanooga by day while wearing the placards, and by night they were confined in irons.

The Press identified the men by name. They were a mix of soldiers, government contractors, and citizens. The order of the men in the picture is unknown.
Government employees: E. Jones, R.C. Jones, and James Martin.
18th Ohio Infantry privates: David Alspaugh, Cyrus Leight, Moses H. Matheny, and Henry D. Metzer. 
Citizens: C.G. Moxley (Blacksmith), and S. Moxley
The soldiers were all late war recruits: Leight, Metzer, and Alspaugh were substitutes who mustered into Company K during the last week of March 1865. Matheny mustered into the regiment in February 1864, making him the veteran of the group. 

The four men eventually received honorable discharges. They also hailed from Ohio, the same state as U.S. Congressman Clement Vallandigham, the leader of the Copperhead faction of anti-war Democrats, and a powerful opponent of the Lincoln administration.

A fragmentary period pencil inscription on the back of the mount notes that a lieutenant presented the photograph to a major general.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.
Contributer JSTOR

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