There were various theories behind the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. One theory was that Lincoln's murder was planned by government officials. Bob Lynn, the only surviving Confederate Civil War veteran in Union County, Kentucky in 1937, disagreed with this theory and gave his version of the cause of the President's assassination in an article in the now-defunct Evansville Press on 25 April 1937.
Lynn stated John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln in Ford's Theater in Washington, DC "to avenge the death of Booth's friend, a Capt. Beal, Confederate officer." Lynn says he heard the story from officers of his regiment right after the death of President Lincoln.
According to Lynn, Capt. Beal commanded a Confederate gunboat during the Civil War. "He launched an unsuccessful effort to go up the Mississippi River to Rock Island, Ill., and free Confederate prisoners held there. The boat reached Rock Island, but was captured. Capt. Beal was sent to New York, tried and sentenced to death."
John Wilkes Booth, who was a friend and college classmate of Capt. Beal, asked Lincoln to commute Beal's sentence to life imprisonment and Lincoln agreed. However, two members of Lincoln's cabinet (Chase and Steward) overruled him and Capt. Beal was executed. Thus, the reason Booth shot President Lincoln was revenge for the death of Beal.
Bob Lynn was born 24 October 1844 in Union County and enlisted in Adam Rankin Johnson's cavalry 1 August 1862 at Madisonville, Kentucky. The regiment was transferred to the command of General John Hunt Morgan and Lynn then became part of Morgan's Raiders.
In August 1863, Lynn was captured while attempting to escape across the Ohio River following a raid into Ohio. He spent 18 months in a Chicago prison camp and was exchanged three weeks before the war ended. He was with his regiment near Lynchburg, Virginia when Robert E. Lee surrendered. Lynn walked to Greenville, Tennessee and then rode a train to Nashville. From Nashville he got a ride on a boat to Uniontown, Kentucky and walked home from there.