Friday, September 12, 2014

Solving Lincoln’s Assassination

by Steven Hager

http://stevenhager420.wordpress.com/2014/09/11/solving-lincolns-assassination/

640px-Abraham_Lincoln_November_1863I tinkered around conducting my own deep political research for years, but it wasn’t until I began the study of secret societies that I made any real headway. My big breakthrough was exploring connections between the Sicilian men-of-honor society and the Central Intelligence Agency, two secret societies that plotted to assassinate Fidel Castro. But after JFK called off that murder, the same team assembled to kill Castro ended up killing Kennedy. If Congress ever holds a real investigation, this is the reality that will emerge, although I suppose the instigators will be long dead by then.
I could write about 9/11 today, after all it is the anniversary, but my musing on that subject don’t attract much attention and offend those who prefer to keep their heads in the sand. I’m sure Facebook downgrades 9/11 posts anyway, unless they support the official story. There’s so much mud in the water and games being played regarding 9/11 that it’ll probably take another 13 years for enough real evidence to emerge to start pointing fingers at the true culprits, though I am certain 9/11 was staged to jump-start two wars that killed over two million people and made billions for the military-industrial complex, while suspending most of our Constitutional rights, because that’s the way deep politics works.
You can’t understand the Lincoln assassination without understanding the Knights of the Golden Circle, one of the more powerful secret societies in America at the time of the assassination. Funny how almost nothing has been written about the Knights, although their existence was well-established before the Civil War. Apparently, the organization grew out of Southern Rights clubs in the South who wished to open up more territory to slavery. These secret clubs financed slave ships that continued to illegally abduct Africans after the slave trade was officially abolished in 1808. In 1844, the War with Mexico was championed by these clubs because they desired to invade Mexico so it could be carved-up into slave states to insure the balance of power in Congress remained with the South.
bickleyIn 1855, a resident of Cincinnati, Ohio, named George Bickley organized the Southern Rights movement into the highly secretive Knights of the Golden Circle (K.G.C.), a volunteer militia initially formed for a new invasion of Mexico. Eventually, tens of thousands joined the society, and many came from Northern states. A secret history of the society was written in 1861 and appeared a few years ago online here:https://archive.org/stream/authenticexposit00perri#page/n3/mode/2up
But only three years after the Civil War commenced, the K.G.C. was exposed. Some were leading pro-slave “peace movements” while others were acting as spies and dirty tricks operatives for the Confederacy. The Army spent months investigating the K.G.C. and the Judge Advocate General eventually produced an exhaustive report titled: “The Order of American Knights”, alias “The Sons of Liberty:” A Western Conspiracy in Aid of the Southern Rebellion, published by the Union Congressional Committee, Washington D.C., 1864. Among other things, the report identified most of the state leaders in the North and claimed Clement Vallindigham, leader of the Copperhead Democrats in Ohio, was the society’s Supreme Commander. Vallindigham had been a member of Congress, but after he lost his seat, President Lincoln had him deported to South Carolina as an enemy alien.
You can read the Congressional report here: https://archive.org/details/reportontheorder02unit
Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 6.56.59 AMIsn’t it odd that none of Lincoln biographies or recent films mention K.G.C.?
In the 1930s an amateur historian and chemistry professor in Chicago put forth the theory that Secretary of War Edwin Stanton was involved in the Lincoln assassination and played the crucial role in covering up the true origins of the plot.
After Lincoln’s death, Stanton seized all power in Washington D.C. and took charge of the investigation and ran a military court that swiftly hung some minor players. What nobody seems to mention, however, is that Stanton and Vallindigham were very close personal friends, and that Vallindigham funded Stanton’s rise in politics. Booth’s induction into the K.G.C. is well documented and Booth may have been following instructions from Vallindigham, who had one of the biggest axes to grind against Lincoln.
640px-John_SurrattThe transcripts of the trial are available online, or you can watch Robert Redford’s excellent film The Conspirator, which focuses on Mary Surratt, who was targeted as chief patsy and swiftly hung. Her son John was studying to be a Catholic priest but instead joined the K.G.C. He became one of the primary couriers for the Confederacy during the war, and was involved in the K.G.C. plot to kidnap Lincoln so he could be traded for Confederate prisoners of war. But when the kidnap plan shifted to murder, Surratt fled to Canada, where he remained in hiding while his mother was tried and hung as chief patsy.
Check out Surratt (left) wearing his Papal Zouave uniform. Surratt was such a devoted Catholic he volunteered to defend the Papal States during the final years of their existence. Eighteen months after his mother was hung, however, he was spotted in Egypt and escorted back to America to stand trial still wearing his Papal Zouave uniform. Fortunately for Surratt, a law had just been passed forbidding military courts from trying civilians so the government was unable to secure his conviction, although Surratt freely admitted associations with Booth, he claimed no part of the murder and most of the jury believed him.
Later on, Surratt would publish his diary and the most astonishing thing was his frequent mentions of the K.G.C. on almost every other page. You can read the diary here:https://archive.org/stream/privatejournali00surr#page/n5/mode/2up
Since Stanton was head of the investigation and running the country under martial law at the time, one wonders why the K.G.C. was never mentioned in the trial, why Booth was executed instead of being brought in for interrogation, and why 15 pages of Booth’s diary disappeared immediately after Stanton got control of the manuscript.
If I had to make a guess, I’d say the Civil War was fomented by British interests that also led the abolitionist movement from their headquarters in Boston. After the war, certain business interests wanted to pillage the South for exploitation, something Lincoln was strongly opposed to. Killing Lincoln was not in the best interests of the South, but was in the interest of certain business alliances. After Lincoln’s death, Stanton engaged in a vicious power struggle with President Andrew Johnson, someone who’d also been slated for assassination but survived.
AlbertPikeYoungerThere’s another thread to this saga that involves Freemasonry. Albert Pike, the most powerful Mason in America, was from Boston, but moved to Arkansas during the war, where he became a general for the Confederacy and organized Native Americans to conduct terror raids on Northern civilians. Just as British and American officers met frequently during the Revolutionary War in Masonic lodges (and sometimes on the eve of a battle), it’s safe to assume Masons on both sides of the Civil War held discussions in their temples throughout the war. Freemasonry has always been a refuge for spies. Immediately after Lincoln’s death, Pike went from hiding out in Canada, to being awarded full masonic honors inside the White House by the deeply masonic President Andrew Johnson, who pardoned Pike for his war crimes and may have helped erect a statue to him in Washington.
Consider that Stanton was a devoted Freemason. Also consider the one man brought in to testify against Mary Surratt was a clerk who worked for Stanton at the Department of War. Consider Stanton placed John Frederick Parker as the sole bodyguard for Lincoln that fateful night even though Lincoln had been having nightmares about being assassinated for three nights running and expressed these fears to Stanton and requested additional protection. Since Parker had a reputation for visiting brothels, sleeping on duty and drinking heavily, he seems like an odd choice. Parker abandoned his post and went across the street for drink in a tavern where Booth was also imbibing before Booth strolled across the street to execute the undefended President. Consider that Stanton closed every bridge out of Washington immediately after the assassination, save one, which turned out to be the bridge used by Booth and his confederates. Consider the public telegraph lines in Washington went dead for two hours immediately after the assassination, leaving Stanton in control of the only working telegraph line in and out of the city.
Although all the films show Booth jumping to the stage and yelling “sic semper Tyrannis,” in his final diary entries Booth claimed to have shouted those words immediately before firing the shot.
mjkogd1
Knights of the Golden Circle ceremony
Final note: When conducting operations on a national/international levels, secret societies can manifest dialectical systems. By founding terror groups, they capture centers of gravity and place gatekeepers at key strategic positions in the coming conflict. Just as the abolitionist movement had deep pockets plus the insane John Brown on their side, a complimentary and similarly violent pro-slavery movement may have been manifested so the coming clash of cultures could be more effectively mined for profit. William Quantrill would be the insane terrorist on the flip side. I sense this may be the way secret societies have played their games for centuries.

President Lincoln assassinated by The Knights of the Golden Circle

by Steven Hager

http://stevenhager420.wordpress.com/2014/09/09/president-lincoln-assassinated-by-the-knights-of-the-golden-circle/


640px-Knights_of_the_Golden_Circle_History_of_Seccession_book,_1862The Knights of the Golden Circle is a notorious secret society you probably never heard of it. In 1861, a history of the K.G.C. was published (left) stating the society began in 1834 but Wikipedia claims a start date 20 years later, in 1854, so that’s when the “official” history begins, leaving me wondering about those early formative years.
If you’re looking for something truly enlightening for 9/11 anniversary week, I suggest watching The Conspirator, a film produced by Robert Redford a few years ago. I much prefer this film to Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. It used to be free to stream on Netflix and Amazon Prime, but now you have to pay.
Redford spent years researching the Lincoln assassination, and the film focuses on Secretary of War Edwin McMasters Stanton, who effectively took charge of the country after the assassination. After submitting to Stanton’s will for a brief time, President Andrew Johnson attempted to twice sack Stanton, something that sparked Johnson’s impeachment hearings. At one point, Stanton barricaded himself in his office, refusing to give up his post or government titles until Johnson’s impeachment trial was concluded.
The_Conspirator_PosterObviously, Lincoln’s assassination was a huge conspiracy, and since John Wilkes Booth was a member of the K.G.C., it might have been useful to reveal that organization during the subsequent trial, something that strangely never happened. Instead, some innocents, including Mary Surratt, were railroaded into a military courtroom and quickly hung, something that never could have transpired had they been afforded a normal trial. It was a typical “move along, nothing to see here” hoodwink like ones employed so often in cases of secret-society-sponsored terrorism. You have to wonder why Stanton was so eager to close the case and was he being paid off by someone? And, of course, Stanton was such a devote Freemason, so his connections ran wide and deep and probably extended across the pond.
The film doesn’t really go into Stanton’s motivations, although it does demonstrate his manipulations and rush to judgment against an innocent woman falsely painted as the mastermind of the assassination. Stanton would go on to play a role in reversing Lincoln’s plans for Southern appeasement and national healing, opening up the South to ruthless exploitation by carpetbaggers. Afterwards he supported General Grant for President and was rewarded with a seat on the Supreme Court he never lived to sit on.
Stanton got his job as Secretary of War in 1862, one year after the war’s start because the previous secretary had just been sacked for massive corruption. (Secretary of War was long considered a key strategic position for orchestrating war for profit, Id imagine, so it should come as no surprise that during WWII, this position was held by a member of another secret society, Yale’s Skull & Bones.)
640px-Clement_Vallandigham_-_Brady-HandyI find it fascinating Stanton got his start with a $500 loan from Clement Vallandigham (left), who would go on to become leader of the pro-slavery “Copperhead” Democrats, so named by Republicans to sheep-dip them as venomous snakes in the minds of the public. However, before the Civil War got started, the K.G.C. were already collecting funds for an invasion of Mexico (similar to the plans of British spook Aaron Burr, who’d been arrested and tried for treason for fomenting a plot to turn Mexico into a slave nation). Vallandigham served two terms in Congress, where he voted against every proposed military bill, but after he lost his seat, Lincoln had him deported to the South as an enemy alien, the ultimate insult. I do believe Vallandigham may have gotten the last laugh.
Interesting John Brown was the terrorist who helped spark the Civil War and after Brown’s Harper’s Ferry raid, Vallandigham was one of a handful of Congressmen allowed to interrogate Brown concerning the raid. I suspect the abolitionist movement was funded by economic forces planning to make a killing on war profiteering.
Redford’s film doesn’t mention this detail, but it’s pretty certain Vallandigham was involved with Booth in the K.G.C., and I say this because the K.G.C. went through an interesting evolution, morphing first into the Order of the American Knights and finally becoming The Order of the Sons of Liberty, at which point Vallandigham emerges as the Supreme Commander of the society, indicating he may have been an active member all along.
stanton_LOC4a40408r_medIn hindsight, this looks like a possible revenge plot.
There are many lessons in this story, but the most important thing is that whenever a military tribunal is called for what should be a public criminal trial, you should immediately suspect a hidden agenda at work.
And that’s why the creation of the Guantanamo Bay Prison and the torturing of people for decades, some of whom have been found to be completely innocent, is such a suspicious detail in the history of 9/11. Why after 13 years hasn’t a trial been concluded?
But then, trials are are made more difficult when the chief suspect is assassinated in his bedroom in front of his family and then his corpse dumped in the ocean before any independent forensic identification can be made.

Friday, August 1, 2014

KEEHN: Knights of the Golden Circle (2013)

Reviewed By: Frank J. Cirillo

 10/2/2013

Knights of the Golden Circle: Secret Empire, Southern Secession, Civil War by David C. Keehn. Louisiana State University Press, 2013.Cloth, ISBN: 0807150047. $39.95.

Historians have long delved into the dynamics of the 1860-61 secession crisis, exploring how a fire-eating minority engineered the departure of eleven southern states from the Union. Robert Barnwell Rhett and William Lowndes Yancey have become household names in the history of disunion. To such familiar faces, David C. Keehn adds an often-overlooked group: the Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC), a “militant oath-bound secret society dedicated to promoting [white] southern rights.”According to Keehn, the Knights, formed by businessman George Bickley in 1858, were a “powerful force” that became by 1860 the “strong arm of secession” across the South (2). Keehn thus situates the KGC at the center of the secession crisis.

While the KCG, as Keehn claims, became the leading edge of disunionism, the society originated in the expansionist sentiments that swept the slaveholding South in the 1850s. Alongside filibusters like John Quitman, Bickley worked to build a slaveholding empire in the “Golden Circle region” of Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean (2). The KGC merged with the expansionist Order of the Lone Star in 1858, and in 1859 the group planned an ultimately aborted invasion of Mexico in concert with Texas Senator Sam Houston. By 1860, however, the Knights had morphed from a centralized filibustering organization into a “loose coalition” of regional chapters aimed at fomenting secession (53). State regimental commanders, in concert with influential members like Ben McColloch and allies like Henry Wise and John Pettus, turned the KGC into the paramilitary spearhead of the secessionist movement. The group, Keehn claims, became the “secret inner core within the quasi-military organizations rising in the South” in 1860, such as the South Carolina Minute Men. Keehn asserts that the 8000 Texas Knights, employing strong-arming tactics, “rustled Texas out of the Union” in February 1861 (126). The KGC also extended its long conspiratorial tendrils into other plots. The group, alongside Wise and Pettus, developed a plan to seize federal forts across the South. The successful seizure of a number of forts during the secession winter was “likely related” to the Knights. McColloch, for example, organized KGC volunteers to seize the Alamo from the United States Army in February 1861. The same month, the KGC “orchestrated” the purported assassination attempt on President-elect Lincoln by the Baltimore hairdresser Cipriano Ferrandini (184). The vocal warnings of William Seward and other Republicans about a KGC conspiracy to destroy the Union were thus, according to Keehn, quite warranted.

Keehn concludes his narrative by extending the influence of the KGC into the Civil War. In the early months of the war, Knights like Virginius Groner became Confederate officers and tapped into KGC networks to recruit troops. The Knights thus played a “key early role in supporting the Confederate war effort” (141). While the group waned in influence as the war dragged on, Keehn casts its pall over one last significant event: John Wilkes Booth’s conspiracy against Lincoln. Booth, a registered Knight, tapped old organizational networks for aid in his initial kidnapping and later assassination plans. While Keehn does not go so far as to claim that the “KGC was involved in the assassination on an organizational basis,” he nonetheless suggests its influence on the events of April 1865 (184).

As fascinating as its narrative is, Keehn’s book contains a number of shortcomings. Keehn does not delve into the reception of the KGC in a diverse white South. As William Freehling has demonstrated, expansionism was largely a southwestern phenomenon opposed by slaveholders in South Carolina.  Did southeasterners disdain the KGC, then? How did the group’s jettisoning of expansionism in favor of secessionism in the late 1850s change its popularity across the South, given that many southwestern expansionists like Houston were Unionists and slaveholding South Carolinians were the most virulent disunionists? Keehn’s treatment of the South as monolithic prevents him from delving into the potentially rich nuances of the organization’s shifting influence in the region.

In addition, Keehn cannot prove that the KGC spearheaded the plots that rocked the Union in the 1850s and 1860s. Just because key figures like Booth were Knights does not mean that the organization itself was the source of such plans. The main proof that the KGC was the all-powerful organizer of vast conspiracies consists of Republican claims to that effect. As historians from David Potter to Elizabeth Varon have revealed, however, conspiracy fears in each section emerged in paranoia-filled atmospheres.  Just because northerners claimed that the KGC was a substantial threat did not make it one. Moreover, Republicans interested in riling up anti-southern sentiment may have latched onto the KGC because of its provocatively secret nature, rather than because of the group’s actual power. Keehn lacks proof that Republicans were not blowing the influence of the KGC out of proportion. Indeed, the author can only speculate about the origins of the federal fort seizure, Ferrandini, and Booth conspiracies in KGC machinations. Moreover, Keehn admits that only eleven of the 177 delegates at the Texas state secession convention were actual KGC members. Given his sources, Keehn ought to be content with illustrating the KGC as one organization among many in a broad secessionist movement, rather than forcing it into the role of theomnipotent puppeteer pulling the strings of disunion.

Despite its flaws, however, Keehn’s extensively researched book makes a strong contribution to the historiography of secession. No other scholar has offered as detailed and informative an account of the Knights as Keehn. The author persuasively demonstrates that the organization deserves more scholarly attention than has been afforded it—if not as the leader of secession than as an influential and illustrative organization within a diverse fire-eating mosaic too often reduced to figures like Rhett. Indeed, the evolution of the KGC from expansionism to secessionism is a fascinating one that underscores the significance of the escalating events of the late 1850s in pushing southerners toward drastic actions. Moreover, Keehn’s fluid prose makes the book an enjoyable read. Knights of the Golden Circle thus comes highly recommended for scholars and lay readers alike.

Frank J. Cirillo is a Ph.D. Candidate in History at the University of Virginia.

The Knights of the Golden Circle

The Knights of the Golden Circle or K.G.C. had its beginnings in the formation of Southern Rights Clubs in various southern cities in the mid-1830s. These clubs were inspired by the philosophies of John C. Calhoun (1782–1850). Calhoun had an illustrious political career serving as a congressman from his home state of South Carolina, a state legislator, vice president under the administrations of both John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, and a U. S. senator. In addition to the Southern Rights Clubs, which advocated the re-establishment of the African slave-trade, some of the inspiration for the Knights may have come from a little-known secret organization called the Order of the Lone Star, founded in 1834, which helped orchestrate the successful Texas Revolution resulting in Texas independence from Mexico in 1836. Even before that, the K.G.C.'s roots went back to the Sons of Liberty of the American Revolutionary period.

The Knights of the Golden Circle was reorganized in Lexington, Kentucky, on July 4, 1854, by five men, whose names have been lost to history, when Virginia-born Gen. George W. L. Bickley (1819–1867) requested they come together. Strong evidence suggests that Albert Pike (1809–1891) was the genius behind the influence and power of the Masonic-influenced K.G.C., while Bickley was the organization's leading promoter and chief organizer for the K.G.C. lodges, what they called “Castles,” in several states. During his lifetime, Boston-born Pike was an author, educator, lawyer, Confederate brigadier general, newspaper editor, poet, and a Thirty-third Degree Mason. From its earliest roots in the Southern Rights Clubs in 1835, the Knights of the Golden Circle was to become the most powerful secret and subversive organization in the history of the United States with members in every state and territory before the end of the Civil War. The primary economic and political goal of this organization was to create a prosperous, slave-holding Southern Empire extending in the shape of a circle from their proposed capital at Havana, Cuba, through the southern states of the United States, Mexico, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. The plan also called for the acquisition of Mexico which was then to be divided into fifteen new slave-holding states which would shift the balance of power in Congress in favor of slavery. Facing the Gulf of Mexico, these new states would form a large crescent. The robust economy the KGC hoped to create would be fueled by cotton, sugar, tobacco, rice, coffee, indigo, and mining. These seven industries would employ slave labor.


In early 1860 newspapers across the country reported that the Knights of the Golden Circle were recruiting troops in numerous cities to send to Brownsville, Texas, for the planned invasion of Mexico. History is unclear about what went wrong with this invasion, but most historians agree that the well-laid plans never materialized and the invasion never happened. Some say that it failed because George Bickley was unable to provide adequate troops and supplies, but with a civil war looming on the horizon, the invasion’s failure may have been caused by the K.G.C. leaders believing they could not go to war on two fronts simultaneously. They called off their plans for Mexico and started preparing for war with the North.

When tensions between the North and South were at a breaking point and the Civil War had not yet begun, the Knights of the Golden Circle held their convention in Raleigh, North Carolina, from May 7–11, 1860. George W. L. Bickley, as president of the K.G.C., presided at this historic event. The records of this convention have survived until the present day and provide an excellent view of this order's divisions or degrees, goals, accomplishments, and size.

The K.G.C.'s first division was described as being "absolutely a Military Degree." The first division is further divided into two classes: the Foreign and Home Guards. The Foreign Guards class was the K.G.C.'s army and was composed of those who wanted "to participate in the wild, glorious and thrilling adventures of a campaign in Mexico." Those of the second class or Home Guards had two functions: to provide for the army's needs and "to defend us from misrepresentation during our absence."

The second division or class was also divided into two classes which were the Foreign and Home Corps. The Foreign Corps was to become the order's commercial agents, postmasters, physicians, ministers, and teachers and to perform the other occupations that were vital to the achievement of K.G.C. goals. The second class of this degree was the Home Corps. Their job was to advise and to forward money, arms, ammunition, and other necessary provisions needed by the organization and its army and to send recruits as rapidly as possible.

The two classes of the third division or degree were the Foreign and Home Councils. The third division is described in the convention's records as being "the political or governing division." The responsibilities of the Foreign Council were governmental, and it was divided into ten departments similar to those of the United States federal government.

One little-known historical fact that is presented in the records from the 1860 K.G.C. convention is that the Knights had their own well-organized army in 1860, before the Civil War had even begun, so they were prepared in the event of war with the North. In May of 1860 the Knights of the Golden Circle reported a total membership of 48,000 men from the North, who supported "the constitutional rights of the South," as well as men from the South, with an army of "less than 14,000 men" and new recruits joining at a rapid rate.

Shortly before the Civil War began, the state of Texas was the greatest source of this organization's strength. Texas was home for at least thirty-two K.G.C. castles in twenty-seven counties, including the towns of San Antonio, Marshall, Canton, and Castroville. Evidence suggests that San Antonio may have served as the organization’s national headquarters for a time.

The South began to secede from the Union in January 1861, and in February of that year, seven seceding states ratified the Confederate Constitution and named Jefferson Davis as provisional president. The Knights of the Golden Circle became the first and most powerful ally of the newly-created Confederate States of America.

Before the Civil War officially started on April 12, 1861, when shots were fired on Fort Sumter, South Carolina, and before Texas had held its election on the secession referendum on February 23, 1861, Texas volunteer forces, which included 150 K.G.C. soldiers under the command of Col. Ben McCulloch, forced the surrender of the federal arsenal at San Antonio that was under the command of Bvt. Maj. Gen. David E. Twiggs on February 15, 1861. Knights of the Golden Circle who were involved in this mission included Capt. Trevanion Teel, Sgt. R. H. Williams, John Robert Baylor, and Sgt. Morgan Wolfe Merrick. Following this quick victory, volunteers who were mostly from K.G.C. companies, forced the surrender of all federal posts between San Antonio and El Paso.

Perhaps the best documentation as to the power and influence of the Knights of the Golden Circle during the Civil War is The Private Journal and Diary of John H. Surratt, The Conspirator which was written by John Harrison Surratt and later edited by Dion Haco and published by Frederic A. Brady of New York in 1866. In this journal, Surratt goes into great detail when describing how he was introduced to the K.G.C. in the summer of 1860 by another Knight, John Wilkes Booth, and inducted into this mysterious organization on July 2, 1860, at a castle in Baltimore, Maryland. Surratt describes the elaborate and secret induction ceremony and its rituals and tells that cabinet members, congressmen, judges, actors, and other politicians were in attendance. Maybe the most significant revelation of Surratt's diary is that the Knights of the Golden Circle began plotting to kidnap Abraham Lincoln in 1860, before Lincoln was even inaugurated in 1861, and continued throughout the Civil War, resulting in President Lincoln's assassination by fellow Knight Booth on April 14, 1865.

After trying unsuccessfully to peacefully resolve the conflicts between North and South, the Knights of the Golden Circle threw its full support behind the newly-created Confederate States of America and added its trained military men to the Confederate States Army. Several Confederate military groups during the Civil War were composed either totally or in large part of members of the Knights of the Golden Circle. One notable example of K.G.C. military participation in the Civil War included the Confederate's Western Expansion Movement of 1861 and 1862 led by Lt. Col. John Robert Baylor and Gen. Henry Hopkins Sibley.

In 1861 Albert Pike travelled to Indian Territory and negotiated an alliance with Cherokee Chief Stand Watie. Prior to the beginning of hostilities, Pike helped Watie to become a Thirty-second Degree Scottish Rite Mason. Watie was also in the K.G.C., and he was later commissioned a colonel in command of the First Regiment of Cherokee Mounted Rifles. In May 1864 Chief Watie was promoted to the rank of brigadier general in the Confederate States Army making him the only Native American of this rank in the Confederate Army. Watie's command was to serve under CSA officers Albert Pike, Benjamin McCulloch, Thomas Hindman, and Sterling Price. They fought in engagements in Indian Territory, Kansas, Arkansas, Texas, and Missouri.

One of the most feared organizations of all Confederates, whose members were in large part Knights of the Golden Circle, was what was called Quantrill's Guerrillas or Quantrill's Raiders. The Missouri-based band was formed in December 1861 by William Clark Quantrill and originally consisted of only ten men who were determined to right the wrongs done to Missourians by Union occupational soldiers. Their mortal enemies were the Kansas Jayhawkers and the Red Legs who were the plague of Missouri. As the war raged on in Missouri and neighboring states, Quantrill's band attracted hundreds more men into its ranks. Quantrill's Guerrillas became an official arm of the Confederate Army after May 1862, when the Confederate Congress approved the Partisan Ranger Act. Other leaders of Quantrill's Guerrillas included William C. “Bloody Bill” Anderson, David Pool, William Gregg, and George Todd. Some of the major engagements this deadly guerrilla force participated in included the Lawrence, Kansas, raid on August 21, 1863, the battle near Baxter Springs, Kansas, in October 1863, and two battles at and near Centralia in Missouri in September of 1864. The bulk of Quantrill's band wintered in Grayson County, Texas, from 1861 through 1864.

The K.G.C. played the major role in what is referred to as the Northwest Conspiracy. The Confederate plan was to use the great numbers of Knights in the Northern states to foster a revolution that would spread across Indiana, Illinois, New York, Ohio, and any other state in the North where it was feasible. The Baker-Turner Papers, part of the U.S. War Department’s conspiracy files, revealed much of the history of this widespread movement but were kept sealed for ninety years. James D. Horan, the first person ever allowed access to the U.S. War Department's Civil War conspiracy files and the Baker-Turner Papers in the early 1950s, published Confederate Agent: A Discovery in History in 1954, which details the Northwest Conspiracy. His work used these previously-sealed documents and information gathered by numerous investigators, including the private papers of Capt. Thomas H. Hines, C.S.A., of Kentucky, who was the mastermind behind the huge conspiracy.

Throughout the Civil War, one of the Knights of the Golden Circle's most important roles came in its infiltration of Union forces. Nowhere in the country was this influence more apparent than in the state of Missouri where K.G.C. members filled the ranks of the Enrolled Missouri Militia which was commonly known as the Paw Paw Militia. A newspaper article from the Daily Times of Leavenworth, Kansas, July 29, 1864, serves as a good example in their interview with a member of the Paw Paw named Andrew E. Smith. Smith said:

I am 22 years old and live in Platte county, about two miles west of Platte City I was a member of Captain Johnston's company of Pawpaw militia, under Major Clark, and served about six months.... I am a member of the Knights of the Golden Circle. I joined them at Platte City, and was sworn in by David Jenkins of that place. All of the Pawpaw militia, so far as I know, belong to them....

Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox on April 9, 1865. Most historians accept this date of surrender as the official end of the Civil War. The Knights of the Golden Circle as an organization, however, continued to work to achieve their goals, which included a prosperous South, for many decades after the Civil War. What had been a secret society adapted to changing conditions and, after the war, became even more secretive than ever before.

In October 1864 U. S. Judge Advocate Joseph Holt submitted a detailed warning to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton about the dangers posed by the Knights of the Golden Circle that was, by that time, operating under various aliases. This document is commonly called the Holt Report, but its real title is A Western Conspiracy in aid of the Southern Rebellion.

After the war's end, the K.G.C. went underground and used many aliases to hide their activities which included making preparations for a second civil war should that option be necessary. Some K.G.C. members accompanied Confederate Gen. Joseph O. Shelby to Mexico. Some soldiers returned to their homes, while others relocated to more remote frontier areas like West Texas where they could help build towns and cities that conformed to their ideals. Some Knights like Jesse Woodson James, older brother Frank James, and Cole Younger turned to robbing Northern-owned railroads, businesses, and banks after the Civil War.

The Knights of the Golden Circle, according to most authorities, ceased its operations in 1916 for two primary reasons. The United States had entered World War I, and by that time most of the old Knights of the Golden Circle had died.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: An Authentic Exposition of the “K.G.C.” “Knights of the Golden Circle,” or, A History of Secession from 1834 to 1861, by A Member of the Order (Indianapolis, Indiana: C. O. Perrine, Publisher, 1861). Donald S. Frazier, Blood & Treasure: Confederate Empire in the Southwest (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1996). Warren Getler and Bob Brewer, Rebel Gold: One Man’s Quest to Crack the Code Behind the Secret Treasure of the Confederacy (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004). Dion Haco, ed., The Private Journal and Diary of John H. Surratt, The Conspirator (New York: Frederic A. Brady, Publisher, 1866). Joseph Holt, Report of the Judge Advocate General on “The Order of American Knights,” alias “The Sons of Liberty.” A Western Conspiracy in aid of the Southern Rebellion (Washington, D.C.: Union Congressional Committee, 1864). James D. Horan, Confederate Agent: A Discovery in History (New York: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1954). Jesse Lee James, Jesse James and the Lost Cause (New York: Pageant Press, 1961). K.G.C., Records of the KGC Convention, 1860, Raleigh, N.C.

Jay Longley and Colin Eby
http://www.knights-of-the-golden-circle.blogspot.com/

Friday, June 13, 2014

General demands end to guerrilla hunter’s ‘villainous conduct’

By RUDI KELLER  June 8, 2014

EXCERPT: "ST. LOUIS — Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans again insisted that President Abraham Lincoln send a responsible agent to personally receive a report on the activities of secret societies dedicated to overthrowing the government.

The previous day, Lincoln had assured Rosecrans the report would be safe in the hands of an express courier.

“The nature of the information is too grave involving the interests of the country and the safety of individuals to admit of transacting the business through the express,” Rosecrans responded.

Provost Marshal General John Sanderson was working on a report detailing the activities of an organization known variously as the Knights of the Golden Circle or the Order of American Knights. Waves of arrests were already underway. Two suspects from Callaway County, Thomas Howard and his son, John Howard, both denied involvement when they were interrogated this day.

The older Howard, 67, said he kept to his business as a physician and did not engage in politics. “I have no knowledge of any lodge of the Knights of the Golden Circle in Fulton,” he said in his deposition. “I am not a member of the Knights of the Golden Circle. I belong to no secret political organizations.”

One agent, operating under the name William Taylor, reported from Renick that Maj. Reeves Leonard had arrested several members from that town and placed them on parole in Fayette."

http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/civil_war/150_years/years-ago-general-demands-end-to-guerrilla-hunter-s-villainous/article_c3dd0628-eeb6-11e3-976c-001a4bcf6878.html

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Monday, May 12, 2014

Southern Secrets by Renee Benzaim

Annie's cousin lives in Mena, Arkansas and has come into possession of three journals written by one of his ancestors who was deeply involved with the Knights of the Golden Circle. The journals spell out explicitly the locations of some of the biggest caches of 'rebel gold' hidden by the KGC to fund a second Civil War.

Zachary Isom Avants is a history buff and professor at a local college who is aware that throughout Arkansas there exist the ruins of many abandoned cabins and homesteads left behind by his ancestors. He is also an avid genealogist. For years, he has been tracking down these abandoned homesteads, looking for artifacts and information on the lives of his long-dead relatives.

Deep in the Ouachita forests, he comes across a derelict shack that hasn't been touched for almost 100 years. It's covered with vines and falling down and he almost misses seeing it.

He sets up camp next to the shack and begins clearing away the vines. It's a small cabin, but he finds signs that it had been occupied by a couple and 2-3 kids. It's not the typical sentinel outpost shack of the Knights of the Golden Circle, which is probably why no one bothered with it.

When he can safely climb down into the basement, he finds an indentation in the far wall of the root cellar. He carefully digs and finds hidden inside a small opening a cast iron skillet with a lid that has been sealed with pitch.

Excited, he takes the skillet to his makeshift table outside and unseals the lid. Inside, wrapped in many layers of oil cloth, he finds three journals. One is a copy of a day book kept by someone high up in the KGC during the Civil War. The only signature is 'Avants'. The other two were penned by Zack's great grandfather, Orris Avants.

Unbeknownst to Zack, the leadership of the modern KGC is aware that these books still exist, but have never been able to find them. When he begins making discrete inquiries in town, the KGC suspects that he has found the long-lost journals. They are determined to recover them. Why? They don't know what caches the journals expose, and they don't want treasure seekers finding the hidden treasures.

Throughout the years, the American government has also been interested in the KGC and the millions of dollars they stole and hid. FBI Special Agent Jason Smith overhears someone talking about the journals and alerts his superiors. They, too, are determined to possess the journals and recover as much of the stolen loot as possible.

Zack finally realizes the significance of his find and mails the journals to his cousin, Annie, in California. He knows he is being followed and that he, and his family, are in danger.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/southern-secrets-renee-benzaim/1118893023?ean=2940045746878&utm_content=buffer8975a&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

SECRET SOCIETY HIDDEN TREASURE REBEL GOLD MURDER