April 27, 1864: Jacob Thompson

Jacob_Thompson_-_Brady-Handy

Jacob Thompson of North Carolina was Secretary of the Interior under James Buchanan.  Resigning his cabinet post to follow the Confederacy, he joined the Confederate Army and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, fighting in several battles in the West.

On April 27, 1864 he met with Jefferson Davis who appointed him to lead a delegation of “special commissioners” to Canada.  In effect, he was the head of the Confederate Secret Service in Canada.  During 1864 he would concoct plots to free Confederate prisoners in Union POW camps with the help of copperheads.  He met with disaffected Northern politicians to plot the formation of a Northern Confederacy.  He was behind a plot to burn New York City in revenge of the burning of Atlanta.  He was accused of meeting with John Wilkes Booth, although this has not been proven, and after the War Thompson vigorously denied any involvement with the assassination of Lincoln.

All the plots proved abortive, although his activities attracted the attention of the Northern Press who painted Thompson as a malevolent master schemer.  After the War Thompson spent several years in England and Canada before returning home.  He became a great benefactor of the University of the South and is buried in Memphis.  Novelist William Faulkner loosely based his fictional Compson family in The Sound and the Fury on Jacob Thompson and his family.

Published in: on April 27, 2020 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on April 27, 1864: Jacob Thompson  
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