Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Gang of four

One hundred and forty five years ago today, on 7 July 1865, four people were hung from the same gallows in fort McNair SW Washington DC. The four people were Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold, and George Atzerodt. They had been sentenced to death on June 30th for the conspiracy that resulted in the assassination of President Lincoln.

Marry played a minor role. Mary ran a boarding house (now in Chinatown) whose quarters were vital to the conspiracy. She became the first woman sentenced to death (and hanged) by a federal court.

Lewis Powell actually attempted to kill Secretary of state William Seward. David had accompanied him, but when Dave heard shooting he got scarred and ran away. Lewis did not kill Seward with the gun so he tried to stab him to death. Despite having been severely wounded in a carriage accident –still with a splint on his arm- Seward fought Lewis off and survived.

George avoided all involvement in the actual events of April 14th by getting drunk and missing his scheduled appointment to assassinate the Vice president.

Booth, the mastermind of Lincoln’s assassination, is thought by some to have escaped unharmed and lived to an old age under a fake name. Some believe that the corpse produced by union soldiers on April 26th (which very closely resembled Booth), was proof that he died. Either way Booth avoided the festivities on July 7th.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f5/Lincoln_conspirators_execution2.jpg

adult onset atheist said...

That archive photo catches everything but the heat on that July day. Can you imagine how hot those dark blue uniforms were?