The Trial Today: Epilogue

If you have followed along during these last two months as the Trial of the Lincoln Conspirators project was published day by day, I would like to congratulate you! You have essentially reenacted and relived the same experience of those who lived through May and June of 1865. During those two months, the whole country was transfixed by the daily newspaper updates regarding the trial of the Lincoln conspirators. By coming to this site and reading the testimonies and arguments from each day, you have shared in that experience.

But this project was much more than just a reading of the trial transcript. It contextualized and clarified the different testimonies explaining how they related to each conspirator. This project brought in the diaries, articles, memoirs, and recollections of those who had actually been present in the room where it happened. Taken altogether, you now have a better understanding of the trial of the Lincoln conspirators than practically anyone from 1865, save for those select few who took part in the proceedings.

I hope you all have enjoyed this chronological exploration into the trial of the Lincoln conspirators and feel that the investment of time has been worthwhile. As I noted when I introduced this project, my goal was to make the trial of the conspirators more accessible and understandable to everyone (including myself). It’s a key part of understanding the complexity of Lincoln’s death, but is too often overlooked because of its own intimidating complexity.

The old proverb asks the question, “How do you eat an elephant?” with the answer being, “One bite at a time.” According to a trial statistics sheet found in the collection of commission member Lew Wallace, the testimony in the trial constituted 4,300 handwritten pages, “making a solid file of [manuscript] somewhat over 26 inches high”. In addition to the testimony, the pages of arguments in the case numbered 700, putting the whole trial at around 5,000 handwritten pages. William Edwards’ ebook version of the trial transcript which I utilized and summarized for this project clocks in at over 1,400 pages. Finally, the text alone for the project on this site is equivalent to over 300 pages. If you’ve read through all of the pages in this trial project you have, metaphorically, eaten an over 300 page elephant, one bite at a time.

While the daily updates regarding the conspiracy trial will now cease, I still have a few more posts scheduled for the future in order to make the project even more user friendly and accessible. I have gone through and created an index for each conspirator. These indexes provide descriptions and links to all of the testimony relating to that specific conspirator. In this way, those who are interested in looking only at the testimony concerning Dr. Mudd, for instance, can go to the standalone Dr. Mudd Testimony page which will give them links to all the applicable testimony concerning him. Specific conspirator index pages will be released sequentially in the coming weeks so stay tuned for that.

As I stated in the beginning, I have been working on this project for over two years – reading, researching, collecting, summarizing, writing and assembling. I have been told numerous times in the comments and elsewhere that I should publish this as a book. However, I feel that this project, as envisioned, would not work as a book. What makes this project valuable as an online feature is how so much of the testimony can be hyperlinked in order to provide readers access to the original transcripts and documents with ease. The project also links to previous testimony and outside resources and references. In my mind, a traditional book would fail to provide the interactivity that makes this project unique. Not to mention that if this project was turned into a book, at over 300 pages long, it would likely appear just as daunting and inaccessible to the general public as the original trial transcripts. I designed this project to be a helpful guide for students of the Lincoln assassination and would rather it be widely accessible to all on the internet rather than in the hands of only the select few who would want to purchase it in book form.

With that being said, I am still very proud of this project which was, in my eyes, the equivalent of writing a book. I appreciate all of the kind words that you have left for me in the comments and in emails over the past two months. If you really enjoyed this project and want to help support me in future research on this site, I would like to ever so shamelessly direct you to the new Donation button I have put up here on LincolnConspirators.com. The button can be found at the end of this paragraph as well as on the side menu (bottom menu for mobile users). As is obvious from my real world job as an elementary school teacher, I don’t do any of this for the money. Still, I know the content that I create for this site is informative and valuable. If you have the desire and the financial means to help me continue to research, learn, and share, I would be truly grateful. I can’t promise another big, book-sized research project anytime soon as I still have another year to go in my Master’s program, but I’m constantly looking for new information which I share here and on my Twitter account. Even small donations add up and help me in the purchasing of books, articles, and the annual renewals of expensive research subscription sites like Ancestry, Fold3, GenealogyBank, Newspapers.com, and others. Your donations will also help to pay for the upkeep of this site to ensure that LincolnConspirators.com will continue for years to come.

I truly hope you have enjoyed learning about the trial of the Lincoln assassination conspirators. Remember that the entire project will always be accessible by clicking on “The Trial” on the top menu or by visiting www.LincolnConspirators.com/the-trial. Thank you again for all of your support.

Sincerely,

Dave Taylor

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The Trial Today: June 30

Here’s a sample of what occurred on this day in the Lincoln conspiracy trial:

  • The commissioners and judge advocates reconvened to finish up their deliberations
  • The sentencing for Dr. Mudd was decided
  • Five of the nine commissioners signed a recommendation for clemency for Mrs. Surratt
  • The findings and sentences of the court were given to the Judge Advocate General for final approval by President Johnson
  • The military commission established to try the Lincoln assassination conspirators adjourned for the last time

The June 30, 1865 entry for the trial of the Lincoln assassination conspirators is now released and has more information. Please click here to access it. You can also access it through The Trial homepage.


Throughout May and June of 2020, I am publishing a day by day chronology of the trial of the Lincoln assassination conspirators. This includes almost daily posts announcing the release of what happened at the conspiracy trial 155 years ago. For more information about the creation of this project please click here.

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The Trial Today: June 29

Here’s a sample of what occurred on this day in the Lincoln conspiracy trial:

  • Only the nine commission members and three judge advocates were permitted in the courtroom for the deliberations
  • Following the rules of courts-martial, the commissioners discussed and voted on the guilt or innocence of the eight conspirators
  • The commission determined the findings and sentences for all of the conspirators except for Dr. Mudd
  • John Atzerodt visited with his condemned brother in his cell

The June 29, 1865 entry for the trial of the Lincoln assassination conspirators is now released and has more information. Please click here to access it. You can also access it through The Trial homepage.


Throughout May and June of 2020, I am publishing a day by day chronology of the trial of the Lincoln assassination conspirators. This includes almost daily posts announcing the release of what happened at the conspiracy trial 155 years ago. For more information about the creation of this project please click here.

Categories: History | Tags: | Leave a comment

The Trial Today: June 28

Here’s a sample of what occurred on this day in the Lincoln conspiracy trial:

  • Assistant Judge Advocate John Bingham (left) presented his verbose closing argument against all of the conspirators
  • Defense lawyer Thomas Ewing tried to read a paper to the court pointing out Bingham’s errors but was denied
  • The public and press left the courtroom for the final time as the next two days of deliberation were done behind closed doors
  • One of the soldiers assigned as a messenger to the court later gave his impression of the conspirators

The June 28, 1865 entry for the trial of the Lincoln assassination conspirators is now released and has more information. Please click here to access it. You can also access it through The Trial homepage.


Throughout May and June of 2020, I am publishing a day by day chronology of the trial of the Lincoln assassination conspirators. This includes almost daily posts announcing the release of what happened at the conspiracy trial 155 years ago. For more information about the creation of this project please click here.

Categories: History | Tags: | Leave a comment

The Trial Today: June 27

Here’s a sample of what occurred on this day in the Lincoln conspiracy trial:

  • The final five witnesses of the trial testified including more perjured testimony
  • An 1864 advertisement offering to kill Lincoln, Seward, and Johnson for $1,000,000 was entered into evidence
  • The government presented their argument defending the use of a military trial
  • Mary Surratt was still too sick to attend the court today and so she stayed behind a closed door in her makeshift cell next to the courtroom

The June 27, 1865 entry for the trial of the Lincoln assassination conspirators is now released and has more information. Please click here to access it. You can also access it through The Trial homepage.


Throughout May and June of 2020, I am publishing a day by day chronology of the trial of the Lincoln assassination conspirators. This includes almost daily posts announcing the release of what happened at the conspiracy trial 155 years ago. For more information about the creation of this project please click here.

Categories: History | Tags: | Leave a comment

The Trial Today: June 26

Here’s a sample of what occurred on this day in the Lincoln conspiracy trial:

  • The court did not meet in order to allow the prosecution time to finish their closing arguments
  • Gen. Lew Wallace, of the commission, wrote to his wife on this date that he expected, “Three, if not four, of the eight will be acquitted”
  • Today, I show the sketches Lew Wallace made of the conspirators while in the courtroom like the one pictured above.
  • Six of David Herold’s sisters visited with their brother in the empty courtroom for three hours

The June 26, 1865 entry for the trial of the Lincoln assassination conspirators is now released and has more information. Please click here to access it. You can also access it through The Trial homepage.


Throughout May and June of 2020, I am publishing a day by day chronology of the trial of the Lincoln assassination conspirators. This includes almost daily posts announcing the release of what happened at the conspiracy trial 155 years ago. For more information about the creation of this project please click here.

Categories: History | Tags: | Leave a comment

The Trial Today: June 24

Here’s a sample of what occurred on this day in the Lincoln conspiracy trial:

  • The court did not meet in order to allow the prosecution time to finish their closing arguments
  • Gen. Kautz, of the commission, visited Congressional Cemetery where David Herold (and many others from the trial) would later be buried

The June 24, 1865 entry for the trial of the Lincoln assassination conspirators is now released and has more information. Please click here to access it. You can also access it through The Trial homepage.


Throughout May and June of 2020, I am publishing a day by day chronology of the trial of the Lincoln assassination conspirators. This includes almost daily posts announcing the release of what happened at the conspiracy trial 155 years ago. For more information about the creation of this project please click here.

Categories: History | Tags: , | 2 Comments

The Trial Today: June 23

Here’s a sample of what occurred on this day in the Lincoln conspiracy trial:

  • A prosecution witness supported perjured testimony
  • Thomas Ewing presented three sets of closing arguments; one for Samuel Arnold, one for Dr. Mudd and one against the jurisdiction of the commission
  • Mrs. Surratt was too sick to appear in the courtroom today

The June 23, 1865 entry for the trial of the Lincoln assassination conspirators is now released and has more information. Please click here to access it. You can also access it through The Trial homepage.


Throughout May and June of 2020, I am publishing a day by day chronology of the trial of the Lincoln assassination conspirators. This includes almost daily posts announcing the release of what happened at the conspiracy trial 155 years ago. For more information about the creation of this project please click here.

Categories: History | Tags: | Leave a comment

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