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Pieces of Eight


Long: Lincoln Attempted Jefferson Davis Assassination

The October issue of North and South magazine will feature an article by East Carolina University history professor David Long in which he claims that President Abraham Lincoln attempted to have the Confederate President Jefferson Davis assassinated.

ECU history professor David Long has marked former President Abraham Lincoln’s involvement in an assassination attempt on Confederate President Jefferson Davis. (Contributed Photo)

Long claims that the assassin was to be Ulric Dahlgren, the 21-year-old son of Lincoln’s friend and Navy Admiral John Dahlgren.

The attempt, Long claims, was foiled when the would-be assassin was shot and killed by Confederate home guard troops in King and Queen County, Virginia. Papers were discovered on Dahlgren’s body that revealed the plan.

“It set off a major controversy at the time, and has remained a controversial subject ever since,” Long said.

Long said the discovery could significantly alter the impression most Americans have of Lincoln.

“A conspiracy to assassinate Jefferson Davis is hardly compatible with the image of Lincoln as a savior of the Union, the Great Emancipator, the man who spoke the noble words of the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural Address.”

This page originally appeared in the Oct. 6, 2006 issue of Pieces of Eight. Complete issue is archived at