Life NRA,SUVCW # 48,Legion 352
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But you have to a yourself this, how truly strong were his convictions towards the South? Johan, you brought up a point that made me ask this question, did he feel like a coward for not enlisting in the Confederate Army. This got me to wondering just how strong his convictions were. Throw out the kidnapping plot and the assassination plot, pretend for a moment they never happened. I can think of four ways Booth could have helped the South.
One is as a smuggler and blockade runner. And according to his own sister he supposedly claimed to have smuggled a much needed medicine into the South during the war. Ok, so we have one point in favor of his convictions, but personally this is the least of the four I can think of. From the sounds of things Booth's "running the blockade" was overland. Still very dangerous if he got caught, but it would seem actually operating one of the ships running the blockade would be a little bit higher up in terms of the potential danger faced.
Another is, as has already been brought up, as a soldier. We know he never served in the Confederate Army as an enlisted man. And as you say, he doesn't seem the type to have wanted to be an anonymous soldier, he'd have probably wanted to be an officer and a high ranking one at that. Or at least an aide to one of the senior generals. Yet again we know this didn't happen.
Third would have been as a spy. Now maybe either of you know if he ever actually served in this capacity, at the moment I don't feel like going to get any of my books on spying during the war to see if his name is there. But you do have a number of spies who have earned reputations almost as great as some of the noteworthy generals both North and South. And certainly greater than the non-noteworthy generals. A spy would seem to be the role that would have most suited him as his job as an actor would have given him something of a cover to operate in DC. Unlikely in the field, though maybe some of the high ranking Federal generals during their time between campaigns might have wanted to be entertained. But with being a spy comes the danger of being captured, and possibly executed as a spy.
Finally there's the idea of working for the Confederate Secret Service. The theory that he was working for the Confederate government when he assassinated Lincoln would seem to suggest just that. But that is a theory. And we know various Confederate Secret Service agents did operate in the North, though more from a base in Canada. Again his job as an actor would have given him a cover story. Imagine the kinda of damage he might have gotten up to. But again if he got caught he could well have been executed... as a spy. And unlike just spying he'd have had to have been a lot more careful with things like sabotage, destruction of property, and bank robbing.
For all I know Booth could have been a spy and Secret Service agent, but right now nothing I've seen has ever suggested as much. Both would have let contribute to the Confederacy in ways other than on the battlefield. But you run into the point of him being anonymous, would he have done either if he remained anonymous? For that matter, was his ego such that he couldn't work anonymously?
As for the conspiracy idea, personally if there was a conspiracy larger than the known plot I doubt it was a Southern one.
I've never found any real evidence that Booth was part of any CS plot or any official supporter. To me he was just an 1860's Tom Cruise who started to believe his own press.