General Lafayette C. Baker

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“General Baker, Chief of the United States Secret Service, born in Stafford, Genesee County, N. Y., October 13th, 1826, died in Philadelphia, Pa., July 2nd, 1868. In 1848 he went to New York and Philadelphia, and in 1853 to San Francisco, in each of these cities working as a mechanic. When the lawless element became dominant in San Francisco, in 1856, General Baker joined the Vigilance Committee and took an active part in the summary proceedings that restored order in the city. He went to New York on business in 1861, expecting to return at once, but the Civil War intervened, and he went to Washington and offered his services. At the suggestion of General Hiram Walbridge, of New York, he was introduced to General Scott, and as a result of the interview he started on foot for Richmond, where, in spite of arrest, imprisonment and several interviews with Jefferson Davis, while under suspension as a spy, he succeeded in collecting much information and returning to Washington after an absence of three weeks. This was but the first of a series of adventures involving high executive ability and a wonderful talent for tracing conspiracy and frustrating the designs of Confederate spies and agents. He was commissioned colonel, and subsequently brigadier general. His duties naturally made him enemies in influential quarters, and charges of a serious nature were several times preferred against him, but were never substantiated. When President Lincoln was assassinated General Baker organized the pursuit of the murderer, and was present at his capture and death."— Frank Leslie, 1896


Frank Leslie Famous Leaders and Battle Scenes of the Civil War (New York, NY: Mrs. Frank Leslie, 1896)


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