Many volumes have been written about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. But few if any accounts have ever discussed the campaign of revenge that gripped the nation after the murder. Any person who did not show the requisite grief at Lincoln’s death was vilified. Some people were tarred, feathered and forced to carry American flags in public humiliations. Men who bore even a passing resemblance to assassin John Wilkes Booth were lynched. Mobs appeared at the houses of former President Franklin Pierce—a New Hampshire native and a fierce opponent of abolition—and demanded he display the flag.
When it was noticed that there were no signs of mourning on the house of former President Millard Fillmore, an angry mob slung mud and splashed black ink on the residence. In New York City, a gang of club-wielding teenagers burst into the home of Julia Tyler, widow of John Tyler, the 10th president, a Southerner, to make sure no Confederate symbols were present. Riotous mobs threatened to hang on the spot thousands of Confederate POWs around the country. People with a grudge against a neighbor took the opportunity to press false claims so as to exact revenge on their rivals. In The Purge, author Thomas Goodrich has compiled scores of eyewitness accounts that each, in its own way, helps uncover the truth about this troubling period of time—one that has been completely ignored by almost every other historian. Softcover, 108 pages, illustrated, #874.