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The Abounding Mystery of Lewis Powell - Other People of the Civil War - The Participants of the War - Mikitary & Civilian - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Wed Jan 8th, 2014 07:38 pm
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wondering
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Of all the Lincoln conspirators, I am mystified by Lewis Powell (Payne). He did put it on the line with the 2nd Florida Infantry, volunteering in 1861 at the age of 17, finally being wounded at Gettysburg on Day 2 (survived numerous other engagements unscathed). The Florida 2nd was engaged in some notable battles, Williamsburg, Seven Pines, Gaines Mill, Malvern Hill, Second Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Antietam, all before Gettysburg.

My question is if anyone can confirm what battles Lewis actually participated in (contemporary sources?), or if he ever received special mention/citation. By my estimation up to the assassination he led rather a charmed life for a Civil War soldier, until falling in with dishonorable fellows by the end. Thanks in advance if you know any curious tidbits about his history.



 Posted: Wed Jan 29th, 2014 02:55 pm
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Not all that much is known about Lewis, but I came across this book "Lewis Payne, Pawn of John Wilkes Booth" (1962) written by Leon O. Prior, containing more facts than most. It is less than 20 pages long and an interesting read. The story of his family is tragic but representative. One of his two brothers was killed in the war, the other maimed, and all hopes placed on the younger Lewis. His father, a blacksmith and Baptist preacher, was heartbroken by events (never saw his son again after he left for the war). Subtext is of a Southern family dismembered, and although there are many facts about Lewis, his mystery is still absolute. I guess one might conclude by the end he was just a common thug, but he was also a 21 year old kid, fallen for a "friend", and the product of a vicious Civil War. Like it or not, he was human.

As for the 1858 Navy Revolver, according to the text, it was given to him the day of the assassination by Booth (wonder where he got it). I guess there wasn't much opportunity to test fire it by then. For what it's worth, thought I'd post the link.

https://archive.org/details/lewispaynepawnof00prio



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