1.02.2020 Interviewed Megan Hargrove, “Ride with the Assassin” on Cool Your Heels with Lillian Cauldwell
Megan Hardgrave’s interests include World History and America’s Civil War, travel, creating gourmet pies, and classic movies. Her passion is developing historical products for her company Collectible Profiles. She enjoys communicating with other Lincoln enthusiasts. Megan’s mission to share Lincoln’s life and legacy is strong.
Megan lives in Carrollton, Texas.
SYNOPSIS: “Ride with the Assassin”
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The story begins with teenager Mark Harris standing outside Ford’s Theater the historical night of April 14, 1865. He is ordered by an actor he had met earlier to hold the reins of his mare while he is inside. While the actor, John, is inside the theater, Mark has an ESP vision: he sees a man as he moves through Ford Theater and assassinates President Lincoln, but he never sees his face. But Mark does not realize that his vision is real; Lincoln has been killed by John. When John comes out, he involves Mark in his escape. They cross the Navy Yard Bridge into Maryland. As they ride, Mark recalls that he came to Washington to see his hero Lincoln and the events of the preceding days.
You will read about their first stop at Surratt’s Tavern. You will witness John getting medical help from his friend, Dr. Mudd. You will want to alert Mark as he is innocently drawn deeper into the conspiracy. You will feel Mark’s shock as he finds out that Lincoln was murdered at the same time he had his “vision”. He comes to the repulsive conclusion that he has been aiding John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of his beloved President. Mark also has to deal with the fact that he has this unique gift that enables him to witness events without his being there. Although he was innocent, now he knows there is a price on his head as well as Booth and the other accomplices. As the added twist, Mark looks like one of the conspirators. He tries to return home to Baltimore, but he is stopped by two of the conspirators who force him to return with them to Booth’s camp. As they talk, Mark learns further about their roles in the conspiracy. Mark decides that he must escape. He decides on a course of action, which will expose someone’s evil deeds in such a way as to minimize his personal risk. Risking being caught, he courageously obtains evidence – Booth’s diary.
The danger to Mark increases as the manhunt for Booth by the combined U.S. Calvary closes in. They are forced to go to Confederate sympathizers who help them to go into the Deep South. They provide places to stay and rest, food and newspapers. Booth and Mark escape by boat across the Potomac River at night. Mark is shot at while rowing Booth across the river and the boat sank. While swimming, Mark must decide what to do with Booth, let him drown or let him live. One doctor refuses to offer crucial medical aid for John’s gangrenous leg. An old black man named Lucas has a fight with John. Lucas’s son Charles takes the two by wagon to the ferry. Jack M. Garrett talks with Booth and Mark on the ferry crossing. When they land at Port Royal, VA, he tells Booth that they are welcome to stay at his family’s farm. The climax comes when the Calvary catches up with Booth at the Garrett farm, encircles the barn, and sets it on fire to force Booth to come out and surrender. Mark hears a shot being fired in the barn as he successfully escapes from the burning barn. He makes his way back home to Baltimore where his brother helps him send the diary anonymously to Secretary Stanton as evidence. Later he is a nervous spectator at the trial of the other conspirators.
In the epilogue, the adventure comes full circle. Mark Harris, now an aged Senator, reflects on the Lincoln Assassination and its importance in history as he attends the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial on May 30, 1922.