The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

US President Abraham Lincoln was the third American president to die in office , and the first of four presidents to be assassinated. The other three were James Garfield (1881), William McKinley (1901) and John F. Kennedy (1963). Lincoln’s death came in the closing days of the American Civil War, and a day after he was shot by John Wilkes Booth, an American stage actor.

Booth was the 9th of 10 children born to the actor Junius Brutus Booth. John Wilkes Booth was outspoken in his advocacy of slavery and his hatred of Lincoln.

The original plan of Booth and his small group of conspirators was to kidnap Lincoln, and they later agreed to murder him as well as Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William H. Seward.

On the morning of April 14, 1865, Booth had found out that Abraham Lincoln was going to to attend an evening performance of the comedy Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre in the capital. Booth quickly assembled his band and assigned each member his task, including the murder of Secretary of State William Seward. He himself would kill Lincoln. About 6:00 PM Booth entered the deserted theatre, where he tampered with the outer door of the presidential box so that it could be jammed shut from the inside. He returned during the play’s third act to find Lincoln and his guests were unguarded.

Booth shot President Lincoln once in the back of the head. Lincoln’s death the next morning completed Booth’s piece of the plot. Seward, severely wounded, recovered, whereas Vice President Johnson was never attacked. Booth fled on horseback to Southern Maryland on his horse called Peanuts. A reward of $100,000 was issued for his capture. Also rewards of $50,000 and $25,000 for some of Booth’s conspirators.

On April 26, Federal troops arrived at a farm in Virginia, just south of the Rappahannock River, where Booth was hiding in a tobacco barn. Herold gave himself up before the barn was set afire, but Booth refused to surrender. After being shot, a bullet had pierced three vertebrae and partially severed his spinal cord, paralyzing him. In his dying moments, he reportedly whispered, “Tell my mother I died for my country”. Booth was carried to the porch of the farmhouse, where he subsequently died. The body was identified by a doctor who had operated on Booth the year before, and it was then secretly buried, though four years later it was reinterred.

Booth’s conspirators were Lewis Powell and David Herold, who were assigned to kill Secretary of State William H. Seward, and George Atzerodt, who was tasked with killing Vice President Andrew Johnson. By simultaneously eliminating the top three people in the administration, Booth and his co-conspirators hoped to disrupt the United States government.

In the turmoil that followed the assassination, scores of suspected accomplices were arrested and thrown into prison. Anyone discovered to have had anything to do with the assassination or even the slightest contact with Booth or Herold on their flight were put behind bars. Among the imprisoned were Louis J. Weichmann, a boarder in Mrs. Surratt’s house; Booth’s brother Junius (playing in Cincinnati at the time of the assassination); theater owner John T. Ford, who was incarcerated for 40 days; James Pumphrey, the Washington livery stable owner from whom Booth hired his horse; John M. Lloyd, the innkeeper who rented Mrs. Surratt’s Maryland tavern and gave Booth and Herold carbines, rope, and whiskey the night of April 14; and Samuel Cox and Thomas A. Jones, who helped Booth and Herold escape across the Potomac.

All of those listed above and more were rounded up, imprisoned, and released. Ultimately, the suspects were narrowed down to just eight prisoners (seven men and one woman): Samuel Arnold, George Atzerodt, David Herold, Samuel Mudd, Michael O’Laughlen, Lewis Powell, Edmund Spangler (a Ford’s stagehand who had given Booth’s horse to “Peanuts” Burroughs to hold), and Mary Surratt.

On June 29, 1865, the Military Commission met in secret session to begin its review of the evidence in the seven-week long trial. A guilty verdict could come with a majority vote of the nine-member commission; death sentences required the votes of six members. The next day, it reached its verdicts. The Commission found seven of the prisoners guilty of at least one of the conspiracy charges. Four of the prisoners: Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, George Atzerodt, and David Herold were sentenced “to be hanged by the neck until he [or she] be dead”. Samuel Arnold, Dr. Samuel Mudd and Michael O’Laughlen were sentenced to “hard labor for life, at such place at the President shall direct”, Edman Spangler received a six-year sentence. The next day General Hartrandft informed the prisoners of their sentences. He told the four condemned prisoners that they would hang on July 7,1865.

sources

https://www.britannica.com/biography/John-Wilkes-Booth

https://www.onthisday.com/photos/assassination-of-president-lincoln

https://www.loc.gov/pictures/search/?q=Abraham%20Lincoln%20conspirators

The hanging of Amy Spain

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On this date in 1865, just weeks before the final collapse of the Confederacy, a slave named Amy Span was hanged on a sycamore tree before the courthouse of Darlingon, S.C., for anticipating her liberty a little too exuberantly.

Amy Spain’s slave master was  Major Albertus C. Spain, a Mexican-American War veteran who owned a large property in Darlington, South Carolina, and had been a member of the South Carolina Secession Convention. Amy was about 17 years old at the time of her death, and was referred to as “mulatto”, with sources noting her light skin. In early 1865, a detachment of the Union Army arrived in Darlington as part of the Carolinas Campaign.Spain reputedly exclaimed “bless the Lord, the Yankees have come!”.Many white residents (including almost all adult men) had deserted the town by that point, and the Union commander allowed slaves to take whatever belongings had been left behind.

But the Union men were not long for the town. It was just a scout party; constrained by strategic objectives, and hindered by swollen early-spring rivers, the main body of Union forces passed Darlington by.

Anticipating an occupation that was not about to occur, Amy recklessly declared herself free and took some of the Spain household’s possessions — the fruit of her own involuntary labor.

A short time later Confederate troops under command of  General Joseph Wheeler, re-occupied the town.

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Those who had stayed behind during the Union occupation reported that Amy Spain had been the “ringleader” of the looting, and accused her specifically of guiding Union troops to places where valuables had been hidden.Amy Spain was captured and charged with “treason and conduct unbecoming a slave” by a Confederate military tribunal;[5] Major Spain reputedly acted as her defense counsel. She was sentenced to death, and hanged from a sycamore tree in the Darlington town square on March 10, 1865.

The September 30, 1865, edition of Harper’s Weekly gave a somewhat embellished account of Spain’s execution, proclaiming that “her name is now hallowed among the Africans”.[3] The story and its accompanying illustration were reprinted by many Northern newspapers. Harper’s Weekly attributed the greater share of responsibility to Darlington’s residents rather than the Confederate troops, stating that her execution “was acquiesced in and witnessed by most of the citizens of the town”.

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Sources

Executed Today

Harpers Bazaar