The Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois, the site of the final resting place of Abraham Lincoln, was the site of one of the most bizarre Secret Service operations in history. The body of the savior of the Union and one of our greatest presidents had lain peacefully in his coffin since his assassination at Ford’s Theater in Washington eleven years before. But a gang of bumbling counterfeiters from Chicago, believed that Lincoln’s poorly guarded tomb could be a gold mine for them. They plotted to steal the assassinated President’s body and hold it for a cash ransom and a full pardon for one of their imprisoned comrades. Yet this ghoulish plan quickly became a comedy of errors largely forgotten in the annals of American history, in which the body snatchers were arrested and imprisoned—and the primary role of the Secret Service as the agency responsible for the protection of presidential bodies began.

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