Posts Tagged With: Execution

The Assassination…in Color!

The advent of photography allowed the Civil War to be documented in an unprecedented way.  Instead of relying solely on written accounts and hastily drawn sketches of the battlefield, photography allowed the horrors of war to be transmitted in painful detail to the masses.  In the 150 years that have passed since that great conflict, the black and white and sepia tinted images of the war have become well known and almost commonplace.  However, thanks to new technology and painstaking work by devoted enthusiasts/artists, we are now able to see Civil War scenes and figures almost exactly as they appeared in real life.  Instead of being trapped forever in black and white, these historic images are being reborn in color.

The following images are colorized versions of assassination related people and events.  They are the detailed work of two different men.  One of them is named David Richardson.  David owns and operates his own website, Civil War in Color, where he sells his colorized and 3D photographs.  The other artist is named Mads Madsen.  He is a twenty something year-old Denmark man with a passion for colorization.  His online gallery, which I encourage you all to visit and get lost in for awhile, contains hundreds of images that he has brought to life with his shockingly realistic colorization.  Just today, Mads released a colorized version of John Wilkes Booth and it is so extraordinary that I knew I had to share it.

Both men have been slowly developing and improving their techniques in order to create the most realistic images possible.  The images below come from different periods of that development, with some not being as refined as others.  They nevertheless provide a vivid and unique view of assassination related figures and events.

Work by Mads Madsen:

John Wilkes Booth by Mads Madsen

John Wilkes Booth by Mads Madsen

George Atzerodt by Mads Madsen

George Atzerodt by Mads Madsen

Samuel Arnold by Mads Madsen

Samuel Arnold by Mads Madsen

Lewis Powell by Mads Madsen

Lewis Powell by Mads Madsen

Lewis Powell 1 Colorized by Mads Madsen

Lewis Powell by Mads Madsen

Lewis Powell by Mads Madsen

Lewis Powell by Mads Madsen

Lewis Powell by Mads Madsen

Lewis Powell by Mads Madsen

Lewis Powell Before and After by Mads Madsen

Lewis Powell Before and After by Mads Madsen

The "Lincoln Hanging" by Mads Madsen

The “Lincoln Hanging” by Mads Madsen

Work by David Richardson:

David Herold by David Richardson

David Herold by David Richardson

George Atzerodt by David Richardson

George Atzerodt by David Richardson

Michael O'Laughlen by David Richardson

Michael O’Laughlen by David Richardson

Edman Spangler Colorized by David Richardson

Edman Spangler by David Richardson

Lewis Powell by David Richardson

Lewis Powell by David Richardson

The Execution by David Richardson

The Execution by David Richardson

I hope both men continue their impressive work.

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Graves of the Conspirators

Over the last week, I had the opportunity to visit and photograph many of the graves of the Lincoln assassination conspirators. Here are some black and white stills of their final resting places.

Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold, George Atzerodt

Location: Old Arsenal Penitentiary, Washington, D.C.
Period of interment: 1865 – 1867
Pine Boxes B&W

Site of the burial of the executed conspirators

Immediately following their execution, the four conspirators were buried in pine boxes next to the gallows.  In 1867, their bodies, along with the body of John Wilkes Booth, were reburied in a warehouse on the grounds of the Arsenal.  In 1869, President Johnson released the remains to their respective families.  Today, the site of the conspirators’ execution and initial burial location are part of the tennis courts at Fort Lesley McNair in D.C.

John Wilkes Booth

Location: Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore, MD.
Period of interment: 1869 – Present
Booth B&W Grave

After Booth’s body was returned to Washington and an autopsy was preformed, he was initially buried in a gun box beneath the floor of a storage room at the Arsenal. In 1867, he was moved and his remains were placed with those of the other conspirators in a warehouse on the Arsenal grounds. President Johnson released Booth’s body in 1869. Edwin Booth purchased a family lot at Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore and had his grandfather, father, three infant siblings, and brother John Wilkes buried together in the plot. John Wilkes Booth is unmarked in the plot.

David Herold

Location: Congressional Cemetery, Washington, D.C.
Period of interment: 1869 – Present
Herold B&W Grave

The Herold family had owned a burial plot at Congressional Cemetery since 1834. Davy was the seventh person to be buried there when his body was released in 1869. While Davy is unmarked, his sister Elizabeth Jane was later buried right on top of him. Her stone is the farthest right in the plot.

Mary Surratt

Location: Mount Olivet Cemetery, Washington, D.C.
Period of interment: 1869 – Present
Mary B&W Grave

This basic stone bearing only “Mrs. Surratt”, is a replacement for an earlier stone that bore the same text. It is all that marks the plot of Mary Surratt, her children Isaac and Anna, her son-in-law, and some of her grandchildren.

Lewis Powell (body)

Location: Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C.
Period of interment: 1884 – Present
Grave of Lewis Powell's body Rock Creek Section K, Lot 23

While Lewis Powell’s skull is buried with his mother in Florida, the rest of his body is likely at D.C.’s Rock Creek Cemetery in a mass unmarked grave in Section K, lot 23. A portion of that section is pictured above. Eerily, one of the headstones in that section is marked “Lewis”. For more about the travels of Lewis Powell’s remains, read the middle section of this post.

George Atzerodt

Last confirmed location: Glenwood Cemetery, Washington, D.C.
Period of interment: 1869 – ?
Public Vault Glenwood Cemetery ExteriorPublic Vault Glenwood Cemetery Interior

The location of George Atzerodt’s remains are still a bit of a mystery. It is known that they were placed in the public vault of Glenwood Cemetery (pictured above) after being disinterred from the Arsenal. It was erroneous believed that he was then buried in a family plot at St. Paul’s Cemetery in Baltimore. Research facilitated by this website has proven this to be false. It is possible that Atzerodt is buried somewhere at Glenwood but the interment book for that period of time was stolen in the late 1800’s. More research is needed.

Dr. Samuel A. Mudd

Location: St. Mary’s Catholic Church Cemetery, Bryantown, MD
Period of interment: 1883 – Present
Mudd B&W Grave

After Dr. Mudd died in 1883, a tall monument with a stone cross on the top was placed on his grave at St. Mary’s Church. Around 1940, some of Dr. Mudd’s descendants decided to replace the weathered stone. The new stone (pictured above) contained Mrs. Mudd’s birth and death dates as well as the doctor’s.

John Surratt

Location: New Cathedral Cemetery, Baltimore, MD
Period of interment: 1916 – Present
Surratt B&W Grave

The longest lived of all the conspirators, John Surratt and his family are buried under this plain cross stone bearing only the family name in Baltimore’s New Cathedral Cemetery.

Samuel Arnold

Location: Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore, MD
Period of interment: 1906 – Present
Arnold B&W Grave

Samuel Bland Arnold, one of John Wilkes Booth’s schoolboy friends, was involved in the abduction plot but was not in D.C. when the assassination occurred. Sam was the last member of his family to be buried in the plot upon his death in 1906.

Michael O’Laughlen

Location: Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore, MD
Period of interment: 1870 – Present
O'Laughlen B&W Grave

Another childhood friend of Booth’s who was involved in the initial abduction plot, Michael O’Laughlen was sentenced to life in prison at Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas. He died from yellow fever while in jail despite the attentive care he received from his fellow prisoner, Dr. Mudd. He was initially buried on an island adjacent to Fort Jefferson. After his fellow conspirators had been pardoned, O’Laughlen’s body was transported from Florida to Balitmore. He was interred in the family plot on December 14th, 1870.

Edman Spangler

Location: Old St. Peter’s Church Cemetery, Waldorf, MD
Period of interment: 1875 – Present
Spangler B&W Grave

After his release from Fort Jefferson, Edman Spangler returned to working at John Ford’s different theatres. Eventually he made he way to Charles County Maryland and reunited with Dr. Mudd. Spangler lived on Dr. Mudd’s property doing carpentry work and farming until his death there in 1875. His grave was marked in the 1980’s by the Surratt and Mudd Societies.

The Lincoln Assassination: Where Are They Now?: A Guide to the Burial Places of Individuals Connected to the Lincoln Assassination in Washington, DC by Jim Garrett and Rich Smyth
Betty Ownsbey

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The Execution on Warehouse 13

Almost two years ago, I noticed the Syfy show Alphas (now cancelled) used a doctored version of Davy Herold’s mugshot photo as a piece of set filler in an episode.  Tonight, I was surprised to notice another Lincoln assassination related photograph in yet another SyFy channel show.  This time the show was Warehouse 13, which actually ended its five season run in May of this year.  Warehouse 13 revolves around a group of Secret Service agents who search for historical artifacts that have become imbued with supernatural powers connected to their origin.  The effects of the artifacts can be both good and bad with most episodes revolving around the team identifying, searching for, and then taking possession of an artifact that is causing problems in the real world.  For example, one artifact in the series is a glass bottle from the Donner party which causes those who handle it to develop hypothermia and insatiable hunger.  The artifacts the agents retrieve are then kept in a huge “Indiana Jones” style warehouse under lock and key.  It’s a unique and interesting show.

As stated, Warehouse 13 ended back in May.  Nevertheless, I decided to relive the show and start watching it from the beginning again.  Tonight, as I was bedding down for the night, I was watching an episode from the show’s first season entitled, “Regrets”.  In this episode the main characters, Pete and Myka, are investigating what is causing prisoners at a penitentiary to hallucinate visions of their victims and then commit suicide due to their fear and guilt.  At one point the agents are in a room of the prison which contains photographs of the history of the prison.  One of the photographs on the wall caught my eye:

Execution photo on Warehouse 13 1

Execution photo on Warehouse 13 2

Execution photo on Warehouse 13 3

Clearly, that is not a photograph of the prison in Florida where they are supposed to be.  Instead, a history minded set designer used a photograph of the execution of the Lincoln conspirators to round off the prison related wall.

Execution 6 The Drop

This is actually not the only Lincoln assassination related item connected to Warehouse 13.  As you would expect, fans of the show were always discussing historical artifacts that could be included in the show and the various “powers” they could have.  One fan thought that John Wilkes Booth’s boot would make an interesting artifact for the show and created his own “Inventory Display” for it:

John Wilkes Booth's Boot Warehouse 13 Fan

I give the fan credit for his creative thinking and mixing of fact and fiction, but I wish he would have used a picture of Booth’s actual boot, on display in the Ford’s Theatre museum:

John Wilkes Booth's Boot FOTH LOC

Like David Herold’s appearance on Alphas, I’m amazed to find another reference to the Lincoln assassination in such an unlikely place.  It’s good to know that the people at the SyFy channel seem to appreciate history, at least for set dressings.

Warehouse 13, Season 1, Episode 9, “Regrets”
John Wilkes Booth’s Boot on the Warehouse 13 Wiki

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It was Stanton!

Don’t worry, I’m not going to try to convince you all that Secretary of War Edwin Stanton was behind Lincoln’s assassination.  Lincoln’s “Mars” was crucial in the hours after the President was shot in starting the investigation into his death.  The two men had a deep, profound respect for each other – a product of four years of war.  Nevertheless, some still believe that Stanton had a hand in Lincoln’s death.  Apparently even some of Stanton’s contemporaries suspected he was involved, too.  One person believed it so much, that he created the following:

I snapped this pictures out of an auction catalog with the following description:

It is interesting to think of the individual who painstakingly engraved the death of the conspirators on a plaque of ivory only to turn it into a platform for condemning the Secretary of War.

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“Thus perished four…”

The day after the four conspirators were hanged, one soldier penned the following letter to his family back home in New York:

“Camp Stoneman  D.C.

July 8th 1865

Darlings at home

Before you receive this you will probably have read all about the execution of the conspirator’s at the Washington Penitentiary yesterday.  My regiment was on duty immediately in the yard and around the gallows.  Consequently I had a fine view of the preparation and the final execution of the criminals.  The yard was an enclosure by high brick walls and buildings of probably a half acre of ground.  The gallows was erected at one corner about 30 feet from a door which lead into it from the prison.  The platform was about ten feet high and the beam from which the ropes was suspended was about 10 feet above the platform.  That portion of the platform for 4 feet which was a sort of trap door hung upon hinges and supported by a single prop which was to be knocked out from under them by a sort of battering ram.  The prisoners were accompanied to the gallows by the officers in charge of the execution and their spiritual advisers.  Who in behalf of each thanked the officers and soldiers who had charge of them for this uniform kindness to them.  And after praying with them (and I never heard more eloquent and stirring appeals made to a throne of diving grace) they were caused to stand up on the fatal trap, where their arms were tightly tied behind them and their legs tied at the ankle and knees – the cap drawn over their face the rope adjusted and drawn tight around the neck the signal given and four unhappy victims were suspended in the air by the neck.  I stood very near on horse-back where I had a good opportunity to see every motion.  I did not discover the least motion of a single muscle on Mrs. Surratt – and but very slight on Atzerodt.  Payne and Harrold did not pass off so quickly.  Harrold showing signs of life for nearly five minutes and Payne for full seven minutes.  After hanging for the space of 20 or 30 minutes they were taken down, laid in rough boxes, and buried near the foot of the gallows.  Thus perished four of the greatest criminals our land has ever produced.  And my only regret is that the balance of the band had not shared the same fate.  It seemed hard indeed to see a person bearing the almost divine shape of woman lead out by men alone executed and laid away with none but the hands of rough soldiers to care for her.  I never before saw such picture of absolute despair and fear upon the face of a human being.  Mrs. Surratt was nearly unable to stand.  In fact Payne was the only one of the party that showed any signs of courage or manliness.  I see by the papers today that the clergymen who attended them express much hope that they passed from this to a better world.  If so, how much better than they to their intended victims whom they endeavored to send into the presence of their God with one moment’s preparation.  I hope it will be my fortune to witness the execution of Jeff. Davis, & then shall I, indeed, feel that the rebellion is crushed.  And when you hear any one say that Jeff. will never be hung, “that Andrew Johnson is President and that he is supported by officers who are good and true,” in such hands we are safe.  The day has come when we have in authority those who care more for their country than they do for themselves or party.  And I trust that it may be long before any others shall obtain the reins of Government and seek again to draw us down to ruin.

Then I have written you a good long letter, at least, a long one.  And shall have but very little room for anything else – though as tomorrow is Sunday I presume I shall write again.  I wrote you a good long love letter but a day or two ago, as I shall not mail this till evening perhaps I will write a little more before I send it.

Give my love to all the friends.  Kiss the dear children for me.  Good day to you and God bless you all.

Most affectionately,

S.D. Stiles”

The author of this account is Sampson D. Stiles who was a member of the New York Cavalry.  The photographic record does not show any soldiers on horseback as Stiles states he was, but it is know that General Hartranft requested cavalry members to report to him:

“Mil. Prison Wash. Arsenal

July 6th, 1865


I will require a Company of Cavalry in addition to the twenty sent me today.  Will you be kind enough to order them to report to me at 8 o’clock tomorrow morning.  I will need them only during the day.

Very Respectfully – Your Obt. Servt. –

Bvt. Maj. Genl. Gov. Com’dr. M.P.

Colonel Taylor

A.A.G. –Dept.Wash.-”

So while we see no mounted soldiers in the execution photos, the request for Cavalry soldiers and the details in Stiles’ letter home gives the strong impression that he was there.

Sampson Stiles’ 1905 obituary in a Vermont paper

Stiles’ account comes from the James O. Hall research papers
The Lincoln Assassination Conspirators – Their Confinement and Execution, as Recorded in the Letterbook of John Frederick Hartranft edited by Edward Steers and Harold Holzer

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I watched them lead him out the door,
As he exited his cell.
I followed them, as he had asked,
To give his last farewell.

“A boy” I thought of him at first,
When I was called to pray,
But with death’s knocking out in the yard,
I saw a man today.

While saddened by his coming death,
He confessed to me his crime:
“I helped a man who killed a man.
Where will I spend all time?”

I said I could not answer him,
To God he must appeal.
We sat there in redemptive prayer,
And begged his soul to heal.

So while his frame may falter,
During these, his last grains of life,
On the gallows he’ll stand, with his clenched hands,
A man, adverse to strife.

Fictional poem from the perspective of Rev. Dr. Mark Olds, David Herold’s spiritual advisor on the scaffold.

Justified or not, four individuals paid the ultimate price for their involvement with John Wilkes Booth.  Those saved from execution faced their own mortality when they heard the drops fall and would carry the stigma of their association for the rest of their lives.  Lincoln’s assassination killed not only the President and the innocence of our nation, but also the lives of the misguided supporters who knew not what they were doing.

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