Westholme Publishing
The Complete and Thrilling Story of One of the Great Presidential Mysteries


The Baltimore Plot
The First Conspiracy to Assassinate Abraham Lincoln
Michael J. Kline

$24.95 Paperback
$29.95 Hardback

  • 536 pages
  • 6 x 9.25
  • 40 b/w photos, maps
  • American History

About this Book

"In a thrilling detective story of conspiracy, treachery and assassination, Michael J. Kline suggests how close the Baltimore plotters came to achieving their goal, and reveals how Lincoln and a few guards outwitted them. Meticulously researched and written with verve, "The Baltimore Plot" takes readers aboard Lincoln's inaugural train for a perilous and unforgettable journey."  —James L. Swanson, author of the Edgar Award-winning New York Times bestseller Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer.

“To author Kline a conspiracy case based on circumstantial evidence can be made, and he makes it in exacting but fascinating detail. Kline will absorb Lincoln readers.”—Booklist

“Michael J. Kline’s tense telling of Lincoln’s journey through the secessionist hotbed of Baltimore en route to his 1861 inauguration reads like a detective thriller. Meticulously researched and exceptionally written, Kline offers convincing evidence from famed detective Allan Pinkerton and others that the Baltimore plotters’ threat was real. A must-have for Lincoln readers.”—Kate Hannigan, author of The Flour Girls

“Kline details an alleged plot to which most Lincoln books only allude. Comparing favorably with Harold Holzer’s Lincoln President-Elect, this book demonstrates the use of archival sources beyond the usual standard and is recommended for specialists and general readers.”—Library Journal

“Gathering information, arguing its value, and re-creating the tension of the secession crisis, Kline’s narrative absorbs readers. . . . He does not hide behind generalizations or best guesses.”—Civil War Librarian


On February 11, 1861, Abraham Lincoln’s private train began its journey from Springfield, Illinois, to the City of Washington, carrying the president elect to his first inauguration. As Lincoln made his way east, private detective Allan Pinkerton and a separate sting operation by New York City detectives uncovered evidence of a conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln during his stop in Baltimore. The largest city of a border state with secessionist sympathies, Baltimore had been infiltrated by paramilitary groups bent on killing Lincoln, the “Black Republican.”

In The Baltimore Plot: The First Conspiracy to Assassinate Abraham Lincoln, Michael J. Kline turns his legal expertise to evaluating primary sources in order to discover the extent of the conspiracy and culpability of the many suspects surrounding the case. Full of memorable characters, including Kate Warne, the first female undercover agent, and intriguing plot twists, the story is written as an unfolding criminal proceeding in which the author allows the reader to determine whether there was a true conspiracy to kill Lincoln in 1861.

MICHAEL J. KLINE is partner at Woodcock Washburn LLP in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the former editor of the Journal of Law and Commerce.


  • Baltimore Sun
  • Booklist
  • Library Journal
  • Philadelphia Inquirer
  • NPR
  • Washington Times



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