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The Trial of the Lincoln Conspirators

Following the death of John Wilkes Booth, eight of his co–conspirators were tried by a military tribunal. The fact that they were tried by a military tribunal provoked criticism from those who believed that a civil court should have presided. The trial lasted for about seven weeks, with 366 witnesses testifying. The verdict was given on July 5 and all of the defendants were found guilty. Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold, and George Atzerodt were sentenced to death by hanging and Samuel Mudd, Samuel Arnold, and Michael O'Laughlen were sentenced to life in prison. Edmund Spangler was sentenced to imprisonment for six years. The conspirator John Surratt fled and lived in exile in Europe until he was captured and tried in 1867.

The assassination of President Lincoln: and the trial of the conspirators David E. Herold, Mary E. Surratt, Lewis Payne, George A. Atzerodt, Edward Spangler, Samuel A. Mudd, Samuel Arnold, Michael O’Laughlin, compiled and arranged by Benn Pitman, recorder to the Commission. Cincinnati: Moore, Wilstach & Boldwin, 1865.

Trial of John H. Surratt in the Criminal Court for the District of Columbia, Hon. George P. Fisher presiding. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1867. Two volumes.

United States. Attorney–General.

Opinion on the constitutional power of the military to try and execute the assassins of the President, by Attorney General James Speed. Washington: Govt. Print. Off., 1865.

Gardner, Alexander, 1821–1882.

Execution of the four persons condemned as conspirators (Mary E. Surratt, Lewis T. Powell, David E. Herold, and George A. Atzerodt), July 7, 1865. Photographed by Alexander Gardner. Reproduction of an original photograph held in the Lincoln Collection, University of Delaware Library.

United States. Dept. of State.

The assassination of Abraham Lincoln, late President of the United States of America and the attempted assassination of William H. Seward, Secretary of State, and Frederick W. Seward, Assistant Secretary, on the evening of the 14th of April, 1865: expressions of condolence and sympathy inspired by these events. Washington: Govt. Print. Off., 1867.

This massive, government–printed book collects hundreds of expressions of condolences from leaders and other individuals from all over the world.

Metcalf, Paul C.

The assassination. Barrytown, N.Y.: Station Hill, [1979.]

The American novelist Paul Metcalf’s The Assassination is an experimental historical narrative about John Wilkes Booth set at the time of Lincoln's assassination.

Bishop, Jim, 1907–1987.

The day Lincoln was shot. New York: Harper & Brothers, [1955].

The journalist Jim Bishop’s The Day Lincoln Was Shot covers a brief, but very critical, period–only twenty–four hours and twenty–two minutes–in American history. Jim Bishop calls his best–selling work “a book about a day, a place and a murder.” The book provides a detailed reconstruction of what Lincoln and members of his official family, as well as John Wilkes Booth and his co–conspirators did during this fateful period.

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