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Old November 30, 2014, 10:56 PM   #1
James K
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Who fooled with Booth's Deringer?

I just saw a History Channel program featuring the Deringer used by Booth to kill Lincoln. As would be predictable, the NPS and the FBI assure us that it is the genuine article and rumors that it was stolen and a replacement substituted have no bearing in fact. (Would the government lie?)

Anyway, the gun shown is definitely different from the gun I saw back in the 1960's; then it had a broken hammer screw and a distinctive chip out of the fore-end. The hammer screw is now present and the chip is of a different shape. Did some idiot "restorer" decide to "fix" the gun, or is it a different gun?

Anyway, how many out there remember seeing or seeing pictures of that gun with a missing hammer screw and a V shaped chip? Or have old photos of the gun before it was removed from display during work on Ford's Theater?

Jim
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Old December 1, 2014, 06:16 AM   #2
l.cutler
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Interesting, I did some googling and found a couple photos of it with the screw missing. One actually showed it tied together with a piece of string to keep it from falling apart! Hard to tell on the chip from the photos, if it is identical or not, it is certainly similar. I found a reference to the screw being replaced but nothing official. I also found the report of the FBI examining the gun in 1997 to positively ID it as the same gun, because of reports of a switch having been done in the 1960's. The FBI found it to be the original of course. Fascinating topic, thanks for bringing it up, I'll be doing more digging later when I have more time.
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Old December 2, 2014, 03:22 PM   #3
bedbugbilly
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And hey . . If the FIBBIES say it's been "verified" . . we know it has to be true as the guv'mt wouldn't wouldn't lie nor deceive!

I remember it the same as James states but it's been years since I've seen a photo of it. The whole 'Lincoln thing" is an interesting subject for sure. I've only been to Washington once and I only agreed to go with my wife to meet friends there if I could see two things . . "The Wall" (a humbling experience and i had names I wanted to locate of friends) and "Ford's Theater". Th theater was an interesting place and was amazing to stand in it and realize the history behind it. We then went across the street to the residence to where Lincoln's body was carried and placed. I've seen artist's drawings, etc. of Lincoln laying in bed surrounded by a number of people before he was pronounced. After seeing the artist's drawings, etc. it was a eye opener to just how small that bedroom was as there was very little room in it.

As far as Booth's pistol . . . I doubt a "straight answer" would ever be received. It's like all of the nation's artifacts (that technically belong to "the people" but "taken care of" by the government) that are locked away in the archives never to be seen. Unless a person "had a name" and "knew the right people", they aren't going to get access to examine them.
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Old December 2, 2014, 09:24 PM   #4
James K
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The TV scenes show the gun in plain view, though behind glass.

I plan to write to the NPS and simply ask. They may blow me off, but either way, I'll post what they say.

Jim
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Old December 5, 2014, 07:05 PM   #5
4V50 Gary
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NPS is pretty good about responding to inquiries from the public. Some of the most helpful folks I know are park rangers.
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