On the morning of April 2, 1865, Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, received a telegram from General Robert E. Lee. There is no more time - the Yankees are coming, it warned. Shortly before midnight, Davis fled the capital, setting off an intense and thrilling chase in which Union cavalry hunted the Confederate president.
Two weeks later, President Lincoln was assassinated, and the nation was convinced that Davis was involved in the conspiracy that led to the crime. To the Union, Davis was no longer merely a traitor. He became a murderer, a wanted man with a $100,000 bounty on his head. Davis was hunted down and placed in captivity, the beginning of an intense and dramatic odyssey that would transform him into a martyr of the South's Lost Cause.
Meanwhile, Lincoln's final journey began when soldiers placed his corpse aboard a special train that would carry the fallen president through the largest and most magnificent funeral pageant in American history.
The saga that began with Manhunt continues with the suspenseful and electrifying Bloody Crimes. James Swanson masterfully weaves together the stories of two fallen leaders as they made their last expeditions through the bloody landscape of a wounded nation.
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A Divided Nation Grieves for Different Reasons
Unlike many books covering the events of April 14, 1865, this book's main focus isn't on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, except to tell about the event itself, as much as it describes what happened from the moment Lincoln was shot until he was laid in his grave. There are dozens of excellent books out there if one wants to read about the assassination of Lincoln and its conspirators but this book is for those who want to read about the pageantry and spectacle of his funeral and transport to Illinois. The descriptions are vivid and detailed and the reader gets to know exactly how wrapped up the Union was with their grief. In addition to descriptions of Lincoln's funeral we're also given the stories behind other deaths that occurred during the Civil War, including the deaths of both Lincoln's son and Jefferson Davis' son and the reader is given an idea of how death was viewed during and immediately after the Civil War and how displays of mourning and grief were important to the American people.
At the same time the book deals with the escape, capture and imprisonment of Jefferson Davis. Most who know anything at all about the Civil War know who Jeff Davis was but many have no idea about his accomplishments before secession from the Union and his life after the Civil War. The author gives a sympathetic view of Davis, going into detail about his life before he was president of the Confederacy and after Davis' capture and during his imprisonment we are given the picture of Davis being more a victim of circumstance than reaping the consequences of his actions as the Confederate president. After Reconstruction Davis wrote his memoirs and went on a speaking tour of the South and became an even more sympathetic and admired character in the former Confederacy and the book captures how he once again became a beloved figure.