I am researching Michael O'Laughlen who was an a associate of John Wilkes Booth. He was born June 23rd 1840  in Baltimore MD. The O'Laughlans lived near to the Booths and was  a boyhood friend of Booth. O'Laughlen became an ornamental  plasterer also learning art engraving. At the beginning of the war he enlisted in the Confederate Army (I don't know which unit at present). Following his discharge in June 1862, he returned to Baltimore and began working for his brother who had a feed business. By Autumn 1864 he was travelling up and down to Washington DC were Booth had brought him into the conspiracy to kidnap Lincoln, which was to take place, on St. Patrick's Day as it happened. Following the failure of the kidnap  O'Laughlen returned to Baltimore(he would maintain that was the last time he saw Booth). However he was in Washington DC again the day prior to the assassination, it is an open question way he was in Washington. He surrendered  himself to the authorities on April 17th 1865. He was put on trial with the others, the government saying that he was to follow General Grant with the intention of killing him. The case was not proved but he had been involved in the earlier conspiracy and so was found guilty and got a life sentence. He was imprisoned at Fort Jefferson,  Dry Tortugas FL. along with three others including Dr. Mudd. In September 19th 1867 he contracted Yellow Fever which was raging in the prison, four days later he was dead. His body was returned  to Baltimore and his mother buried him in Green Mount Cemetery, were Booth is also buried. From the name and the fact the family lived in Baltimore I am interested if anyone can give me any info on the families origins.

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Very interesting. Best of luck with your research!

Michael O'Laughlen, born in Baltimore,  had an Irish surname, and was a childhood friend of Booth, . On the other side of the investigation, Lt. Edward P. Doherty, the only commissioned officer with the group who tracked down Booth at the Garrett farm and killed him was indeed an extreme Irish nationalist. Also, Doherty had been a company commander in  Corcoran's Irish Legion, the 155th NY, before returning to New York. and being recommissioned with the 16th New York cavalry. Doherty has the unusual distinction of having two grave sites: one in Arlington cemetery and one in county Sligo Actually Doherty was born in Canada East before moving to New York. But the one credential practically unknown to academic circles.is the fact that Doherty held a captain's commission in the Fenian Brotherhood. Lt. Alex Lovett of the VRC who arrested Dr. Mudd was wounded with the 69th Pa. in 1862 at the battle of Glendale and a prewar member of the Meagher Guards militia company. Lovett is buried in new Cathedral cemetery, a Catholic cemetery in Philly. 


Cameron, I searched the Civil War database online and here were no "O'Laughlens" listed. It seems that on most documents referencing him though, it's spelled "O'Laughlin." In searching the more common "i" spelling I found this:

Michael "O'Laughlin: Residence was not listed; Enlisted as a Private (date unknown). He also had service in: "D" Co. MD 1st Infantry.

The only unit it gives is the 1st MD even though it says he "also served" in it. I found a discussion online by people who collect signatures, discussing the signatures of Lincoln conspirators that discusses the O'Lauglen / O'Laughlin spelling. On page 6 of the discussion they mention several interesting things. One is the spelling differences, also a mention of him being in the 1st MD, and one of them says a he had signed a "oath of allegiance" on June 16, 1863. They also mention another of the conspirators, Sam Arnold, serving in the 1st MD with him, and there are actually two Sam Arnold's listed for that regiment.

This book on the Lincoln assassination listed O'Laughlin (again with an "i") and Arnold as serving in the 1st MD.


You must remember many CSA records were lost...all databases are not complete. To get the best records you would need to go to the National Archives in D. C. and you would need to know the regiment!

Thanks for the replies but what I was really trying to find, if there was any information on the family. Where in Ireland they  came from etc.

Sorry, I'm a Union Irish man....Have you checked MacSlaght's The Surnames of Ireland. Also I would check the 1865 Baltimore city directory....for relatives


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