Posts Tagged With: O’Laughlen

The Lincoln Assassination On This Day (January 1 – January 31)

On the first of 2022, I started back up with my daily On This Day (OTD) tweets over on my Twitter account, @LinConspirators. While I know it’s not the same as more regular postings here on the blog of in-depth research, with my busy work, life, and family responsibilities it’s been hard to find time to really research. Hopefully these collective tidbits from the last month will be enough to appease you all.

Taking inspiration from one of my favorite books, John Wilkes Booth: Day by Day by Art Loux, I’m documenting a different Lincoln assassination or Booth family event each day on my Twitter account. In addition to my daily #OTD (On This Day) tweets, each Sunday I’ll be posting them here for the past week. If you click on any of the pictures in the tweet, it will take you to its individual tweet page on Twitter where you can click to make the images larger and easier to see. Since Twitter limits the number of characters you can type in a tweet, I often include text boxes as pictures to provide more information. I hope you enjoy reading about the different events that happened over the last week.

NOTE: After weeks of creating posts with multiple embedded tweets, this site’s homepage now tends to crash from trying to load all the different posts with all the different tweets at once. So, to help fix this, I’ve made it so that those viewing this post on the main page have to click the “Continue Reading” button below to load the full post with tweets. Even after you open the post in a separate page, it may still take awhile for the tweets to load completely. Using the Chrome browser seems to be the best way to view the tweets, but may still take a second to switch from just text to the whole tweet with pictures.

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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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Michael O’Laughlen’s Forgotten Ability

I found this oil painting of conspirator Michael O’Laughlen today:
Laser Eyed O'Laughlen Painting Sadly, it has already sold for $126. It would have looked just lovely above our mantle, too…

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A Thank You from Spangler

Though sentenced to 6 years in prison (a relative slap on the wrist compared to the execution and life sentences conveyed on the other accused), alleged conspirator Edman Spangler was blessed with the support of a man who continued to fight for his freedom – John Thompson Ford. Ford always believed his employee was completely innocent of any wrong doing. John T. Ford fought valiantly to help Spangler secure his freedom and even put up his own money to publish his defense testimony. While imprisoned on the Dry Tortugas, Spangler wrote the following letter to Ford, which was accompanied with several boxes, to thank him for his continued help:

“Mr. John T. Ford
Baltimore City
I have again sent a box to your care, containing articles to be distributed to my and my roomates friends, which please deliver as directed. You will find a box marked for yourself, also a Cribbage board for yourself, Harry and Dick, each bearing labeled the name to whom they are for. I also send a box for my sister which please forward as directed thereon. Please notify O Laughlins and Arnolds family of the articles for them, which are a small box, directed to each of their familys, and also Cribbage boards apiece for each. Dr. Mudd sends a Cribbage Board which please deliver to his friend Mr. Dyer. Upon the receipt of the box please notify me of it. I trust you will be pleased with the things as I have endeavored to my utmost to make them so. The gift tis true is not much, but a heart of gratitude prompts the bearing of the gift.
We are all well with the exception of Arnold who looks very badly, but receives every kindness both from the officers and soldiers of the Command, which he is grateful for, and which we appreciate. I trust something soon will turn up, for my good and the good of all of us. I see by the papers the prosecution against Surratt are looking for a woman in N.Y. as a witness in his trial – perhaps it is Mrs. Hudspeth, whom Arnold has mentioned to me to write you of, as you know something in regard to her former testimony as told him by his and O Laughlins counsel. Please forward me the National Intelligencer as we are devoid of any paper matter. I have never received the Baltimore Sun since here, and as O Laughlin has that sent, I would be thankful if you would send me the above named paper. I am making a portable ladies writing desk and wish to know the initials of the name you wish placed on it, as the desk is intended for you. Trusting you will still remember me, and this will find you well, I close awaiting your reply.
Yours, etc.
Edman Spangler”


Though the exact date of this letter is not given, it is assumedly written in mid 1867, before or during John Surratt’s trial but before Michael O’Laughlen’s death from Yellow Fever in September.

This letter provides us with a good view of the boredom that must have permeated the daily lives of the imprisoned conspirators at Fort Jefferson. With nothing else to do, Spangler was a veritable factory of cribbage boards and other carpentry items, spending his days keeping himself busy and purposeful. The desire for newspapers was strong and it appears each issue of the Baltimore Sun provided by the O’Laughlens was a treasured commodity to all the men. It was this desire for news that led Michael O’Laughlen to disobey Dr. Mudd’s advice when the former was suffering from Yellow Fever. As Dr. Mudd wrote of O’Laughlen’s illness:

“He had passed the first stage of the disease and was apparently convalescent, but, contrary to my earnest advice, he got out of bed a short time after I left in the morning, and was walking about the room looking over some periodicals the greater part of the day. In the evening, about five o’clock, a sudden collapse of the vital powers took place, which in thirty-six hours after terminated his life. He seemed all at once conscious of his impending fate, and the first warning I had of his condition was his exclamation, “Doctor, Doctor, you must tell my mother all!” He called then Edward Spangler, who was present, and extending his hand he said, “Good-by, Ned.” These were his last words of consciousness.”

Due to the continued persistence of people like John T. Ford and the Mudd family, the three remaining Lincoln assassination conspirators, Dr. Mudd, Samuel Arnold, and Edman Spangler, would secure their pardons in the final days of Andrew Johnson’s presidency in 1869.


John Thompson Ford Papers at the Library of Congress
Robert Summers’ Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Research site
The Art Loux Archive

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Baltimore Cemeteries

Here’s a quick photo post from my phone before I head back from a day in Baltimore. I stopped by three Baltimorean cemeteries today, Green Mount, St. Paul’s, and Loudon Park. This was my first visit to the last two. I brought along my camera but did not charge it before I left. It died after taking pictures of the Booth plot in Green Mount. What follows are some the pictures I had to take on my phone. I hope you like them:

The Booth family plot in Green Mount.


Samuel Arnold’s grave in Green Mount. His mother is buried in the same plot.



The O’Laughlen family marker in Green Mount. Michael is buried here with his father, infant brother, sister and probably other family members not marked on the stone.


The unmarked plot of the Taubert family in St. Paul’s cemetery in Druid Hill Park. Here is where family members of George Atzerodt are buried including his mother, sister, brother in law, and his nieces and nephews. It was once thought that George Atzerodt was also buried here, but recent research on this site has determined this to be incorrect.


Section and the approximate area in which John C. Atzerodt is buried in Loudon Park Cemetery. John was George’s brother and a detective who investigated his brother’s involvement. John is the one who received his brother’s body upon its release in 1869. The section in which John is buried is one of individual plots and sparsely marked. A thorough search of the area was conducted but no marker for John was discovered.

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Arriving at Fort Jefferson

The Richmond Whig newspaper carried this article on August 4, 1865 covering the arrival of the Lincoln assassination conspirators to their prison of Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas:

What surprised me the most about this article is the claim that, upon reaching the island, the prisoners were relieved at finding it, “not so bad a place as they had supposed,” as it had a “fine sea breeze” and was a “very healthy” place.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Early in his memoirs, Sam Arnold accurately describes the Fort thusly:

“Without exception, it was the most horrible place the eye of man ever rested upon, where day after day, the miserable existence was being dragged out, intermixed with sickness, bodily suffering, want and pinching hunger…”

It would have been a fallacy to think that Fort Jefferson was “healthy”  in any sense of the word.  Scurvy, malnutrition, diarrhea, and diseases like yellow fever ran rampant.  The sick were oftentimes quarantined and only aided by a handful of doctors and nurses.  No one enjoyed life on Fort Jefferson.  Especially not Dr. Mudd, Edman Spangler, Samuel Arnold, or Michael O’Laughlen.

Soldiers in quarantine on Fort Jefferson 1899

Richmond Whig, 8/4/1865
Memoirs of the Lincoln Conspirators by Michael Kauffman
Fort Jefferson Historical Structures Report

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Photographing the Conspirators

Reader littlecoco7 posed the following question under the Quesenberry post:

“This has nothing to do with this topic, but I would like to know out of all the conspirators who had their picture taken from Alexander Gardner, how come there was no photo of Mary Surratt taken?”

Thanks so much for the question littlecoco7.  The mug shots of the conspirators are very valuable resources to us now.  For George Atzerodt, Michael O’Laughlen, and Edman Spangler, these few shots consist of our entire photographic record of their lives.  While engravings and drawings were made of them during their time in the court room, we have yet to find other photographs of these individuals.  Even those who we do have additional images of, the mug shots are unique in showing them as they were almost immediately after the crime was committed.  Before delving into your question as to why Mary Surratt (and Dr. Mudd for that matter) were not photographed with the rest, let’s look into how and when the conspirators were photographed.

The best resource for information about the images of the conspirators is the team of Barry Cauchon and John Elliott.  These talented gentlemen are in the process of writing a highly anticipated book regarding the incarceration of the Lincoln conspirators.  One of my links on the side of this blog is to Barry Cauchon’s blog, “A Little Touch of History” while the pairs’ Facebook page about their book, “Inside the Walls” is here.  Barry and John presented some of their findings at the 2011 and 2012 Surratt Society Lincoln Assassination Conferences.  Their research was remarkable to say the least.  To keep their excited fan base content while waiting for the final publication of their book, they produced two supplementary booklets about their talking points.  The most recent one that they sold at the 2012 conference was entitled, “13 Days Aboard the Monitors” and delved into the mug shot photo sessions and the hoods worn by the conspirators.   All the information in this post can be found in this terrific booklet and is currently available for purchase through Barry and John and the Surratt House Bookstore.

Through the research of Barry Cauchon and John Elliott we believe that three photograph sessions occurred while the conspirators were imprisoned aboard the monitors Saugus and Montauk.  The first set of images were all taken of a standing Lewis Powell wearing the clothes he was found in and the clothes he was wearing when he attack Secretary Seward.  There were a total of six pictures taken on this day, April 18th.

Carte-de-visites of two of the six photographs taken of Powell on April 18th.

At this point in time, only two of the conspirators were being housed on the monitors; Michael O’Laughlen and Lewis Powell.

Gardner came back to photograph the conspirators on April 25th.  By this point all of the main conspirators except for Booth and Herold had been arrested.  Gardner photographed Powell again, along with Michael O’Laughlen, George Atzerodt, Edman Spangler, Sam Arnold and Hartman Richter.  Richter was a cousin of George Atzerodt’s and was hiding George in his house when the authorities caught up with him.  While Richter would be cleared of any involvement in the conspiracy to kill Lincoln, in these early days of the investigation he was locked up and photographed with the main gang.

One of two O’Laughlen photographs from April 25th

One of two Spangler photographs from April 25th

One of four Powell photographs from April 25th

One of two Arnold photographs from April 25th

One of two Atzerodt photographs from April 25th

One of two Richter photographs from April 25th

Finally, on April 27th, Gardner returned for his last photograph session.  Here he took pictures of the recently captured Davy Herold and another conspirator Joao Celestino.  Celestino was a Portuguese ship captain with an intense hatred for William Seward.  It was thought he was involved with the attempt on the Secretary’s life but was later released as no evidence existed to connect him to Booth’s plan.

One of three Herold photographs from April 27th

One of three Celestino photographs from April 27th

It has also been written that Gardner and his assistant took one photograph of the autopsy of John Wilkes Booth.  The single print of the event was apparently turned over the War Department but has never been found.  If it was taken, it was either destroyed shortly thereafter, or still remains undiscovered somewhere today.

In the wee hours of April 29th, the conspirators on were transferred off of the monitors and into the Old Arsenal Penitentiary.

So, why didn’t Mary Surratt and Dr. Mudd get their pictures taken?  In short, they were not photographed because they weren’t there and their complicity in the affair had yet to be determined.  Though Mary Surratt had been arrested when Powell showed up at her boardinghouse at the most inopportune time, she was not imprisoned on the iron clads.  Instead, she and her household were sent to the Old Capitol Prison merely as questionable suspects.  The same held true for Dr. Mudd who joined others involved in Booth’s escape like Colonel Samuel Cox, Thomas Jones, and Thomas Harbin, at the Old Capitol Prison.  In the initial stages of the investigation, Mary Surratt and Dr. Mudd were not seen as conspirators.  It was not until more and more evidence arose pointing towards their foreknowledge and association with the assassin that they were treated less like witnesses and more like accomplices.

A Peek Inside the Walls – “13 Days Aboard the Monitors” by Barry Cauchon and John Elliott

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Sam and Mike

When it comes to the assassination saga, there are many remarkable individuals.  There are several men and women who stand on their own in the drama that occurred in 1865.  As students of the assassination though, there are also many people (and aspects of their stories) that we have joined together.  There are names and experiences that we have come to almost automatically associate together as a set or a pair.  The Lincoln’s guests that fateful evening, Major Henry Rathbone and Clara Harris, are one such couple that, by virtue of engagement and tragedy, are forever linked together as a pair.  Louis Weichmann and John Lloyd, as the chief witnesses again Mary Surratt in the trial, share a legacy in books and a recent movie.  John Wilkes Booth and David Herold are linked due to their shared twelve day escape.

In addition to these and many others we have created, two men tried during the summer months of 1865 are interconnected.  Though strangers until that fateful year, Samuel Arnold and Michael O’Laughlen, are now rarely spoken of as individuals.  Rather, Sam and Mike are a pair.

Both knew John Wilkes Booth when they were children.  Both joined Maryland regiments in the Confederate army.  Both left military service early.  Both agreed to aid John Wilkes Booth in his kidnapping plot.  Both lost interest and split with Booth before the plot turned to assassination, and both were sentence by the military tribunal to life imprisonment at FortJefferson.  They shared such similar lives, it makes sense that one would invoke the other.  After reading over accounts of the time that these two men spent together when in the employ of Booth and their subsequent incarceration, one cannot help but imagine a friendship that must have grown between the two men.  While all the conspirators started as strangers to each other, spokes connected by the hub of John Wilkes Booth, Sam and Mike appear to share the same values and life experiences that would produce a true friendship.  The shared imprisonment would lead to a friendship between Dr. Mudd and Edman Spangler as well, but, in my eyes, Sam and Mike’s had a stronger foundation.

One discrepant piece of information towards a strong friendship between Sam and Mike is Sam Arnold’s own memoirs.  As was previously written, Sam Arnold released his memoirs after a different Sam Arnold died and the newspapers reported his own death.  In these memoirs he recounts his involvement with Booth and gives graphic descriptions of his time at FortJefferson.  In Michael Kauffman’s edited book of Arnold’s memoirs, he succinctly points out a large anomaly in the narrative:

“The most striking omission is the absence of any comment on the case of his cellmate, Michael O’Laughlen.  Arnold ignores him so completely that in telling about the end of the yellow fever epidemic , Arnold writes that, ‘happily, we lived through it all,” when, in fact, O’Laughlen had died from the disease.”

While Arnold’s account was written many years after O’Laughlen’s death, the omission of so much regarding him is odd.  In truth, it throws a bit of a monkey wrench in my whole, “They were good friends,” hypothesis.  If I lost a close, albeit rather recent, friend in jail, I would probably write about him.  In the end, I still maintain they two shared a bond of friendship due to a brief mention in an article regarding the other Sam Arnold’s death.

The October 9, 1902, Baltimore American ran an article correcting the misconception that the conspirator Sam Arnold had died.  In it, they attempted to find out where the real Sam Arnold was.  During their search they reported the following regarding Sam’s life:

“When he came back from his island prison, off the Florida coast, he brought with him a number of mementoes of one of his fellow prisoners from Baltimore, who had died of fever, to the latter’s brother here.  This brother said yesterday that he had not seen or heard from “Sam Arnold” for at least 15 years, and he was reasonably sure he had not been in Baltimore during that time.”

So while Dr. Mudd was the man who attended to Mike on his deathbed and Spangler was the one Mike said his last goodbye to, it was Sam Arnold who returned Mike’s effects to his brother Samuel Williams O’Laughlen.  To me, that shows a deep friendship.  Sam wanted to connect with the family of his lost friend and bring them some comfort.

Though O’Laughlen’s brother stated he hadn’t heard from Arnold in 15 years that still means Arnold was in contact with the O’Laughlen family into the 1880’s.  Friends do that.  They keep in touch with the family and they share memories long after a loved one has passed.

In my view, the absence of Mike’s death in Sam’s memoirs does not display coldness.  I choose to believe that Sam was deeply affected by Mike’s passing.  I choose to believe that the two men shared a strong, emotional bond that kept Arnold from publicly expressing his grief at his friend’s death.  Mike is avoided in Sam’s memoirs, not because he meant nothing to him, but because he meant a great deal.

While my views on Sam and Mike’s friendship are merely my personal opinion, there is nevertheless a connection between these two men.  They shared so much in life, that we have appropriately linked them together.  When a discussion of the conspirators arises, the name of one man will almost inevitably follow the other.  It appears that Sam and Mike will be associated together more than any other two conspirators,  and they fittingly rest in peace in the same cemetery for all time.

Memoirs of a Lincoln Conspirator by Samuel Bland Arnold edited by Michael Kauffman
Baltimore American – “Death Recalls Great Tragedy” 10/9/1902

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