June 2, 1865

Friday, June 2, 1865

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Proceedings

The court convened at 10 o’clock.[1]

Present: All nine members of the military commission, the eight conspirators, Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt, Assistant Judge Advocates Bingham and Burnett, the recorders of the court, lawyers Frederick Aiken, John Clampitt, Walter Cox, William Doster, and Thomas Ewing.

Absent: Reverdy Johnson and Frederick Stone.

Seating chart:

The prisoners were seated in the same manner as the day before.

The reading of the prior day’s testimony was completed at five minutes past 12 o’clock.[2]

Testimony began

Charles A. Boigi, a resident of Mrs. Rosanna Scott’s D.C. boardinghouse, testified that Edman Spangler had been boarding at Mrs. Scott’s for about five or six months prior to the assassination. Boigi stated that Spangler returned to the boardinghouse after the assassination as usual and remained at the house until his final arrest a few days later.[3] The purpose of Boigi’s testimony was to show that Spangler did nothing to evade or avoid the authorities after Lincoln’s assassination.

John C. Genther, a harness maker, testified that he also lodged at Mrs. Rosanna Scott’s D.C. boardinghouse. Genther stated his belief that Edman Spangler had been boarding there for about six or seven months and that, like the prior witness, he had seen Spangler around the home in the days after Lincoln’s assassination. During cross examination, Genther stated that Spangler did not sleep at the house and merely had his meals at Mrs. Scott’s.[4]

Thomas J. Raybold, a box office assistant and house manager at Ford’s Theatre, testified that in March he had broken the lock on the door of the theater box where the President and his party later occupied. According to Raybold, a patron had reserved orchestra level tickets for a performance but did not arrive to the theater by the first act break and so his seats were given away. When the patron and his guest finally did show up, there was little room left and the usher who had the key to the boxes had departed. Raybold kicked the door of Box 8 in, in order to seat the patrons there. Raybold stated that he never informed the house carpenter, James J. Gifford, about the broken lock as the purpose of the lock was merely to keep people without box tickets from sneaking into the box before a show. When asked about John Wilkes Booth, Raybold stated that Booth had reserved the same box as the President in the weeks prior to the assassination, bringing ladies and some gentleman to view a performance. Raybold also saw Booth at Ford’s Theatre on the morning of the assassination as the actor was getting his mail. Both the defense and prosecution had Raybold examine Exhibit 47, the coil of rope found in Spangler’s valise. While Raybold was the house manager and did not work behind stage, he expressed his opinion that the rope was similar to the kind used backstage and had evidence of having been used.[5] Though asked quite a few questions about the rope, Raybold admitted to not having expertise in the subject and could not definitely tell what type of material the rope was made from. When Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt posed the question, “You haven’t much acquaintance with hemp?” the whole courtroom erupted in a rare exchange of laughter over the reference to drug use before Raybold replied, “No, sir. I have not”[6] Thomas Ewing’s purpose for calling Raybold to the stand was to explain the condition of the lock on the Presidential box as the prosecution had implied Spangler may have assisted Booth in “preparing” the box. The condition of the lock was actually a moot point, however, as Major Rathbone had said in his original statement to the authorities that the door to Box 8 was kept open during the performance.[7]

Henry E. Merrick, the chief clerk of the National Hotel, testified that he was the guest to Ford’s Theatre previously mentioned by Thomas Raybold. Merrick stated he witnessed Raybold break the lock to the box at Ford’s so that he and his party could sit. While Merrick supported Raybold’s series of events, he contradicted which door was burst open stating it was the door to Box 7, not Box 8.[8] While both boxes combined were used by the Presidential party on the night of Lincoln’s assassination, the condition of the lock on Box 8 had been the issue. Due to this discrepancy, Ewing sent Thomas Raybold to Ford’s Theatre in order to examine the locks again.

James Lamb, an artist and scene painter for Ford’s Theatre, was asked to examine Exhibit 47, the coil of rope found in Edman Spangler’s valise. Lamb stated that ropes of that kind were used in the theater as border ropes that raised and lowered backdrops. Upon examining the rope, Lamb stated that was made of hemp and had evidence of having been used, but not a great deal. Lamb also testified that he saw Spangler at Ford’s Theatre on the day after the assassination in the company of James Maddox, the property man, which Ewing hoped would show that Spangler made no effort to escape in the aftermath of the assassination.[9] During his testimony about the rope, James Lamb was very noncommittal and seemingly careful not to come down one way or the other on the matter. While he described border ropes and their purpose, he could not definitively state that this rope was one of them. While he originally gave his opinion that, “I do not think that this is one that has been used [at the theater],” when the prosecution cross examined him about that statement, Lamb stated he did not recollect having said it. Lamb would only swear that Spangler’s rope was, “very similar to the ones,” that were used at Ford’s Theatre.

Break

Following James Lamb’s testimony, the court decided to take its normal one hour recess for lunch. During this time all of the conspirators were returned to their cells. At 2 o’clock, the court reassembled and testimony was resumed.[10]

Testimony resumed

William R. Smith, the superintendent of the National Botanical Garden, testified that he was inside Ford’s Theatre on the night of Lincoln’s assassination. Smith was asked about the movements of Joseph Stewart, the audience member at Ford’s who climbed onto the stage in pursuit of John Wilkes Booth. According to Smith, Booth had completely passed off of the stage before Stewart climbed upon the stage. Smith saw Stewart get on the stage and look up at the box.[11] Like the defense testimonies of James P. Ferguson, William Withers, and John DeBonay, Thomas Ewing was using William Smith to cast doubt on Joseph Stewart’s shaky identification of Edman Spangler having shut the back door of Ford’s Theatre right after Booth went through.

Jacob Rittersbach, a stagehand at Ford’s Theatre, was recalled to the stand after previously testifying for the prosecution on May 19th and 30th. Thomas Ewing recalled Rittersbach’s previous testimony where he accused Edman Spangler of slapping him across the face and saying, “don’t say which way he went,” after the assassination. Ewing asked Rittersbach if he had told James Lamb, the prior witness, about the incident on the day after the assassination. Rittersbach testified that he did. He also recalled, after being questioned about it, that he told another Ford’s employee, Louis Carland, about the incident in the hours after the assassination. It’s important to note that this contradicted Rittersbach’s testimony from the 30th where he claimed to have only told a detective and James J. Gifford about it. Rittersbach also testified that on the day of the assassination, he and Spangler had witnessed an unknown man smoking a cigar upstairs in the theater’s dress circle. Later the man was in one of the lower, stage level boxes and after Spangler said something within his hearing, the man left.[12] The identity of the mystery man is not known for certain. It’s possible that this was John Wilkes Booth, using the time to carve part of the wall of the vestibule leading into the Presidential box which he would later wedge a broken music stand into in order to brace the outer door close.

Louis J. Carland, a costumer and actor at Ford’s Theatre, testified that around midnight after the assassination of Lincoln, he woke up Jacob Rittersbach who had fallen asleep in a room adjoining the theater. Carland asked about Edman Spangler’s whereabouts and Rittersbach stated he did not know. Rittersbach then told Carland that, in the moments after the assassin ran off of the stage, Rittersbach had turned to Spangler and stated his belief that the assassin was John Wilkes Booth. After saying this, Spangler slapped Rittersbach in the mouth and said, “You don’t know who it is. It may be Mr. Booth, or it may be somebody else.” Carland testified that this was the story Rittersbach told him and that there was nothing about Spangler saying, “Don’t say which way he went,” like Rittersbach had testified to. Carland also testified that Spangler had spent the night of Saturday, April 15th in Carland’s room as the two men occupied the theater building to prevent any damage from coming to it. After being shown Exhibit 47, the coil of rope from Spangler’s valise, Carland stated that it was similar to a great deal of ropes used in and around the theater.[13] Carland’s testimony changed the context of Edman Spangler’s alleged slap of Jacob Rittersbach. Rather than being a completely unprovoked slap followed by the command of, “Don’t say which way he went,” the story Carland heard was that Spangler only slapped Rittersbach when it appeared that the stagehand was accusing Booth of a major crime without evidence. Though Rittersbach’s identification of Booth turned out to be correct, in the confusion after the assassination Spangler may have felt the need to defend the actor’s honor in hopes the identification was wrong.

James Lamb, an artist and scene painter for Ford’s Theatre, was recalled after previously testifying earlier in the day. Lamb was asked about his interactions with Jacob Rittersbach. According to Lamb, on the day after the assassination he saw Rittersbach at the theater grumbling about Spangler. Rittersbach said, “It was well for Ned that he had not something in his hand at the time.” When Lamb inquired what he was talking about, Rittersbach told Lamb that Spangler struck him hard the previous night. According to Lamb’s recounting of the conversation, after the assassin of Lincoln had made his escape out of Ford’s Theatre, Rittersbach stated he would be willing to swear that it was Booth. Spangler then slapped Rittersbach saying, “Shut up. You know nothing about it.” According to Lamb, the words, “Don’t say which way he went,” were never spoken by Rittersbach during their conversation.[14]

George W. Bunker, a clerk at the National Hotel, was recalled after previously testifying for the prosecution on the first day of the trial. Bunker testified that he packed John Wilkes Booth’s belongings after the assassination and subsequent search of his room. Among the items Bunker found in Booth’s room was a gimlet – a hand tool for drilling holes. Bunker was also asked about his hotel’s records dealing with the actor John McCullough. Bunker stated that McCullough had checked out of the National on March 26th and had not been back since.[15] The testimony regarding finding a gimlet in Booth’s room was to provide evidence that it may have been Booth himself who bore the peephole into the door of Box 7, rather than one of the accused like Edman Spangler. The question regarding John McCullough (pictured below) related to the earlier testimony of Louis Weichmann who claimed to have been sent by Mrs. Surratt to John Wilkes Booth’s room in order to summon him. Weichmann testified that this summons occurred on April 2nd and that when he got to Booth’s room, John McCullough was there. Though Thomas Ewing was not one of Mrs. Surratt’s attorneys, he was assisting his fellow counselors by showing that McCullough was not in the city when Weichmann claimed to have seen him.

Charles B. Hall, a clerk residing near Fortress Monroe, Virginia, testified that he had worked for a sutler named John Wharton. Hall recounted that conspirator Samuel Arnold had written to Wharton’s store seeking employment in the beginning part of March. Hall responded favorably to the application and told Arnold to come down from Baltimore which he did around the latter part of March or early April. According to Hall, Arnold was employed for about two weeks at Wharton’s store where he assisted in keeping the books. Hall saw Arnold every night during his employment there which only ended due to his arrest in connection with the assassination of the President.[16] The point of Hall’s testimony was to demonstrate that Arnold had left Booth’s circle of influence weeks before the assassination of Lincoln occurred.

George Craig, a salesman in John Wharton’s store near Fortress Monroe, Virginia, largely supported the previous testimony of Charles Hall. Craig stated Samuel Arnold arrived at Wharton’s store near the end of March or beginning of April and worked there as a clerk until his arrest.[17]

James T. Lusby, a farm laborer residing in Prince George’s County, Maryland, testified that he had spent time with John M. Lloyd on April 14th. The two men had been in the village of Upper Marlboro tending to legal matters when they rode back down to Mary Surratt’s tavern in Surrattsville. Lusby testified that Lloyd was very drunk on that day and thus was drunk when he chatted with Mrs. Surratt who visited her tavern on that day. The prosecution’s cross-examination asked about Lusby’s own condition on that day and while he admitted he drank some with and without Lloyd, he claimed he was not drunk himself.[18]

Mathew J. Pope, a liveryman in D.C., testified at around the 12th of April a man came to his livery offering to sell him a horse. The horse was a dark bay and was blind in one eye. William Doster, the attorney for George Atzerodt, asked Pope to identify the man who brought the horse to the stable but Pope stated he was not sure if he could. Even after Doster ordered Atzerodt to stand up at the prisoner’s dock, Pope was noncommittal stating he could not be certain. Pope did testify that, after turning down the offer to buy the horse, the man went to a nearby restaurant and returned a couple of hours later in the company of a man named John Barr. When John Barr was called to testify on June 5th, he would confirm that George Atzerodt was the man he accompanied.[19] William Doster’s reason for calling Pope as a defense witness is unclear, especially since the horse in question had already been identified as the one purchased by John Wilkes Booth from Dr. Mudd’s neighbor and subsequently used by Lewis Powell on the night of his attack on Secretary Seward. Perhaps Doster was hoping that, by showing Atzerodt made an effort to sell the horse in the days preceding the assassination, he believed the plot against Lincoln had ended.

Margaret “Maggie” Branson, a former volunteer nurse, testified that she had met Lewis Powell following the battle of Gettysburg. Branson had traveled from her home in Baltimore to Gettysburg in order to help care for the wounded Confederate soldiers. Powell was assisting in the caring for the injured soldiers, he himself having been wounded in the battle and captured. Branson testified that Powell was “very kind to the sick and wounded.” In the fall of 1863, Lewis Powell appeared at the Branson home in Baltimore for a short time and conversed with Branson and her sister Mary. When William Doster, Lewis Powell’s attorney, asked Branson if Powell related where he was going after that meeting, Assistant Judge Advocate John Bingham objected that anything Powell said to her was incompetent evidence. Doster countered that he intended to set up a plea of insanity for Powell and therefore, the statements of Powell were admissible under an insanity defense. Bingham disagreed, saying that some foundation must be laid before introducing declarations in support of insanity. Allowing the words of the accused to be presented before laying a foundation of insanity would be equivalent to allowing Powell to testify himself. According to Doster, the testimony of the prosecution had already laid the foundation of Powell’s insanity. Doster then ran through the evidence against Powell, his actions on and after the night of the assassination, and his indifferent behavior during the trial making the claim that these pieces proved his insanity. At the end of Doster’s recitation, John Clampitt, one of Mary Surratt’s lawyers, rose and stated that, while he did not want to interfere with another defense lawyer’s actions, he disagreed with Doster’s supposition that Lewis Powell displayed insanity by making his way to the boardinghouse of Mrs. Surratt. Clampitt stated, “There is no evidence which has shown that he would naturally go to her house for the purpose of hiding or for the purpose of screening himself from justice,” as Doster had implied. In the end, the commission sided with Assistant Judge Advocate Bingham’s objection and Doster was prevented from getting Maggie Branson to quote Powell exactly. Instead, Branson recounted how Powell returned to her house in Baltimore in January of 1865 and stayed there until March when he was arrested. When asked why Powell was arrested, Branson claimed she didn’t know which was likely untrue given the fact that Powell had beaten the Bransons’ black servant so badly that he was reported to the authorities.[20] Overall Maggie Branson was very tight lipped and short with her answers about Lewis Powell (pictured below). She likely played a part in Powell’s transfer from the Gettysburg hospital and the POW’s subsequent escape from the hospital in Baltimore yet claimed to be largely ignorant of Powell’s time as a nurse. Betty Ownsbey, a historian and biographer of Lewis Powell, has drawn the conclusion that Lewis Powell became romantically involved with Maggie’s sister Mary which may have led Maggie to stay largely silent when on the stand.[21]

Margaret Kaighn, a servant at the Branson boardinghouse in Baltimore, testified that Lewis Powell had stayed at the Branson home from January to March of 1865. Kaighn recounted that Powell’s occupancy at the Branson home ended after he was arrested for beating one of the Branson’s black servants named Annie Ward. According to Kaighn, Powell asked Ward to clean his room and when Ward refused Powell slapped her and struck her. Powell proceeded to throw Ward to the ground and stamped on her body, threatening to kill her. After the attack was over, Ward went to the authorities and had Powell arrested.[22] While this event would appear damaging to Lewis Powell’s case, William Doster brought this testimony out in hopes of using it to prove his client’s insanity. Doster hoped to show that, like Powell’s attack on Secretary Seward, the conspirator’s violent attack on Annie Ward showed he was of unbalanced mind. In the end, however, when Doster’s insanity plea fell apart, this testimony would merely reinforce that Lewis Powell was a man capable of intense violence.

Dr. Charles H. Nichols, the superintendent of the Government Hospital for the Insane, was asked a series of questions by William Doster, the attorney for Lewis Powell. Nichols explained that “moral insanity” was when a person’s moral or affective faculties were impeded by a disease of the brain and that cases of moral insanity had increased over the course of the Civil War. Dr. Nichols agreed that depression, quietness, indifference to life, and a desire for suicide could all be symptoms of insanity. When asked whether the commitment of a crime without provocation was a sign of insanity, Dr. Nichols replied that while it may give rise to a suspicion of insanity it, itself, was not proof. Doster then began a long series of hypothetical questions in which he asked whether certain behavior would strengthen a suspicion of insanity. All of Doster’s questions dealt with Lewis Powell without ever saying his name. For example, Doster asked, “If one should try to murder a sick man in his bed without ever having seen him before, would it be presumptive proof of insanity?” Dr. Nichols replied to Doster’s “hypothetical” questions, usually giving his opinion that such actions as described by Doster could strengthen the suspicion of insanity. This continued for quite some time before Assistant Judge Advocate Henry Burnett objected stating that Doster’s hypothetical questions had, “nothing to do with the case” and that the defense lawyer was seeming to imagine, “facts that do not exist.” The commission sustained Burnett’s objection which led to Doster asking Dr. Nichols whether a person who had exhibited all of the traits and behaviors previously alluded to would be considered insane. This was objected to by both assistant Judge Advocates Henry Burnett and John Bingham. Burnett claimed that Doster’s hypothetical questions did not apply to any of the prisoners at the bar while Bingham stated that Dr. Nichols was not competent to give any opinion over a matter he was not versed in through testimony of the facts. The three men, one defense attorney and the two prosecutors, argue for a while before Doster rephrased his question. In the end, Dr. Nichols did not give Doster the answer he wanted. Instead, Nichols stated that each case of insanity was unique and that it was impossible to given an opinion on a hypothetical case.[23] William Doster learned from this failed game of hypothetical questions and later in the trial called medical experts to examine Powell in person and give their opinion of his sanity.

Charles Dawson, a clerk at the National Hotel, was recalled to the stand by the prosecution after having previously testified on May 26th. Dawson testified that a couple of days before his last appearance on the stand he was looking through a series of letters at the National Hotel for a letter belonging to a man whose name began with the letter B. While glancing through the letters only bearing initials, he found one addressed to “J.W.B.” Realizing that the letter may be connected to John Wilkes Booth, Dawson turned the envelope over to the authorities. Assistant Judge Advocate John Bingham stated that he was the one that opened the letter. The letter, written to “Friend Wilkes” from “Lon”, was then read to the court. Using the coded terms of “oil speculation”, the letter appeared to be from a fellow conspirator showing his support for their plan and his willingness to assist Booth during his escape. “Lon” wrote that he was “clear of all surveillance” after getting “Purdy” reported for an outrage on a girl. Yet the writer still asked Booth if Purdy “better be silenced for good?” The letter also mentions the names of “French”, “Brady”, and “Tom” as fellow conspirators. The whole thing ended with the command to “burn this.”[24] Though the letter was dated April 6th, the cancellation mark on the stamp showed that it was mailed from Cumberland, Maryland on May 8th, long after the assassination. This letter would be the subject of conversation and testimony on June 13th and June 16th.

The letter written from “Lon” to “J.W.B.” speaking of conspiracy and “oil speculation” was entered into evidence as Exhibit 76.

Joseph T. Knott, the barkeeper at the Surratt tavern, was recalled for cross-examination after previously testifying on May 30th. The prosecution asked Knott about his loyalties during the war with Knott stating he had never said anything against the Union government nor had he sided with any secessionist elements. Knott was then asked about a conversation Knott had with a common patron at the Surratt tavern, Edward Smoot. The prosecution charged that on April 15th, Smoot came to the Surratt tavern and told Knott he supposed John Surratt to have been one of the murderers. Knott allegedly replied that Surratt was undoubtedly in New York by now and that the son of Mrs. Surratt knew, “all about this matter.” Knott also allegedly told Smoot that he could have told him about this thing six months ago and that he better not mention this conversation to anyone. Knott claimed that he had no memory of having any conversation with Smoot at all on the 15th, but did not deny that he could have visited the tavern. The prosecution countered with, “why is it that you can remember so well… all the particulars about Mr. Lloyd [from Friday], and yet cannot remember a word that occurred on Saturday?”[25] While the prosecution effectively showed that Joseph Knott appeared to know more about the plot against Lincoln than he should have, such a revelation did not effectively counter his testimony about John M. Lloyd having been drunk on April 14th.

Thomas J. Raybold, a box office assistant and house manager at Ford’s Theatre, was recalled after previously testifying earlier in the day. After giving his earlier testimony, Raybold had visited Ford’s Theatre in order to examine the locks on the Presidential box. Raybold reported that the lock to Box 8 was as he had testified – that it showed evidence of having been kicked open by him in March. Raybold also discovered that the lock to Box 7 had also been broken but that he had no knowledge of how that occurred. One of the screws in the lock of Box 7 could be pulled out without any difficulty.[26]

Joseph T. K. Plant, a D.C. furniture dealer and cabinet maker, testified that he had examined the locks on boxes at Ford’s Theatre. He reinforced the testimony of Louis Carland that the lock on Box 8 had been forced and that the woodwork around the lock had been splintered in the process. The lock to Box 7 had a screw that could easily be withdrawn with a finger. Plant also saw the mortise that had been cut in the wall of the vestibule to the Presidential box and stated that it had been covered over at one time. In examining the door to Box 7, Plant made note of the hole in the door. Thomas Ewing asked if the hole had the appearance of having been made with a gimlet, as a gimlet had been found among John Wilkes Booth’s things. Plant stated that he was not sure as one side of it felt like it could have been made by a gimlet, but another part of the hole gave him the impression that it had been trimmed with a penknife.[27]

There were no other defense witnesses present so the defense lawyers gave the prosecution permission to introduce new testimony in rebuttal.

Edward L. Smoot, a farmer residing near Surrattsville, Maryland, testified that, on the day following the assassination of Lincoln, he had visited the Surratt tavern and conversed with the barkeeper, Joseph Knott. Smoot had heard that the would-be assassin of Secretary Seward was thought to be John Surratt. When Smoot asked Knott where he thought John Surratt was, Knott replied that he reckoned Surratt was in New York by that time. Knott then shared that, “John knows all about this murder,” and wouldn’t have stayed in Washington to let the authorities catch him. Knott allegedly told Smoot that and that he, “could have told you this thing was going to happen six months ago,” and then asked Smoot to, “keep that to your skin, my boy.” Smoot was also asked about another neighbor of his John Zadoc Jenkins who had previously testified on behalf of his sister, Mary Surratt. The farmer recalled that while Jenkins was originally loyal to the Union during the first year of the war, as the conflict continued he came to be regarded as a Southern sympathizer. When the defense cross examined Smoot, they posed questions regarding Smoot’s own loyalty during the war. Smoot testified that he had been a member of a local militia in Charles County under the command of Captain Samuel Cox, but that that he withdrew from them when they showed a rebel flag. When asked if he had been an active Union man during the conflict, Smoot replied that he, “had never meddled either way.”[28]

Andrew V. Robey, the postmaster in Surrattsville, Maryland, testified that he had known John Zadoc Jenkins intimately since 1863. Robey supported the testimony of Edward Smoot that Jenkins had initially been known as a strong Union man but only through the first year of the war. After that, he was well known for being a Southern sympathizer. When Frederick Aiken, Mary Surratt’s lawyer, asked Robey about specific instances where Jenkins had shown himself to be a Southern sympathizer, Robey testified that Jenkins had often spoke ill of the government and supported political candidates who were in favor of appeasement or peace with the South. Aiken was able to get Robey to admit that the only evidence he had that Jenkins was disloyal was that he spoke out against the administration and wished for others to be in charge. When asked if such sentiment proved a man to be disloyal, Robey gave his opinion that it did. When the prosecution went back to questioning Robey, they asked if Jenkins had refused to take the oath of allegiance before voting in the election of 1864. Surprisingly, Robey stated that Jenkins had taken the oath to the Union and that he saw him do it. This slightly undercut the prosecution’s goal of portraying John Z. Jenkins as an unrepentant Southern sympathizer.[29]

At the conclusion of Robey’s testimony, the court adjourned at around 5 o’clock.[30]


Recollections

From General Kautz’ diary:

“The Court met as usual this morning nothing of note transpired. I drew my pay this morning for May amounting to $316.95. The witnesses are getting scarce, we get through now each day sooner than before…The weather was very warm and the Court was crowded.”[31]


Newspaper Descriptions

Mrs. Surratt

“Among the absurd rumors afloat in connection with this trial is one that two daughters of Mrs. Surratt were imprisoned, and that one of them had gone mad and died. Mrs. Surratt has but one daughter, and she testified in the case on Tuesday last.”[32]

“The sorrowful eyes of the mother were almost constantly bent on her daughter with a look of indescribable yearning.”[33]

“The presence of her daughter and the affectionate glances mutually exchanged between the two seemed to have a cheering effect upon the mother, for she seemed more hopeful and in better spirits than for several days previous.”[34]

Lewis Powell

“The testimony respecting Payne was listened to with close attention. The principal witness was a young and prepossessing woman [Maggie Branson]. Payne maintained the usual upright position most of the time, and met the gaze of the spectators as indifferently as heretofore. His face was very slightly flushed during the proceedings in his behalf.”[35]

“During these proceedings Payne sat in his usual upright position, showing his feeling and interest by a slightly flushed face and an occasional long breath, and bearing himself with a good deal of dignity and composure.”[36]

“While the case was under consideration, Payne maintained the same stolidity and indifferent that characterized him during the whole trial. He possesses a most extraordinary control over his feelings, and betrays no indication of remorse or dejection.”[37]

Samuel Arnold

“Arnold, as soon as his name is mentioned, starts to his feet, and exhibits intense interest in the proceedings and frequently consults with his counsel.”[38]


Visitors

“The court-room was crowded to great excess, while the heat was so intense as to render it quite uncomfortable.”[39]

“The heat is excessive, and the fans of the ladies and the hats of the gentlemen of the audience are in vigorous motion. The buzz of conversation is brisk, and the voice of the official reporter reading the proceedings of Wednesday is quite drowned at times as fresh arrivals of lady visitors put out a fresh torrent of interrogations and ejaculations in regard to the prisoners.”[40]

“The court room of the conspirators’ trial was more than ever crowded to-day. Gov. Andrew [of Massachusetts] was among the spectators.”[41]

“During the recess of the court, Miss Anna E. Surratt entered the court-room, and took a seat at the southwestern corner of the table reserved for the general reporters. She was dressed wholly in black, save that she wore a straw bonnet, and even that was trimmed in sable. In her hand she held a white handkerchief, which her tears soon saturated. She wept silently, but the short impulsive sobs, subdued though they were, seemed echoed in every bosom in the room. Part of the time the witness L. J. Weichman, was also in the room, and every now and then there would dart from the hazel eyes of the girl a lurid gleam of hate towards him, whose testimony even the thickening tears could not lessen. Oftentimes she would glance at the heavily-studded door that separated her from her mother, who, with the other prisoners, had been as usual removed from the court-room during the recess, and after every look she would renew those quick, silent sobbings that pierced every female heart in the room. Her evident firmness of purpose to wait there till her mother appeared caused a vague dread and fearful anticipation of some coming scene which hushed the usual buzz and hum of the recess hour. Strong as is the current of popular feeling against her mother, awful as is the mighty crime of which she is accused, the sympathy in that greatest of sorrow, the sorrow of a child over the disgrace and capital danger of its mother, subdued every other feeling; and expressions of pity for the girl fell from every lip, and could be read in every face. Ere the court returned, some of its officers crowded around the door through which the prisoners enter, and thus for a while prevented the daughter and mother from seeing each other. The arrival of the reporters, however, soon caused Ann Surratt to change her seat, and as she did so her eyes fell upon the veiled face of her mother. There was no cry, no motion. For a second of time they looked full into each other’s eyes, and then each slowly shook her head, and the girl sat down, her back to her mother, and her chair close to the railing that forms the prisoner’s dock. At long intervals she would turn her head round, obtain a glimpse of the dark woman, to her all the world, to all the world (1); and quickly resuming her original position, allowed the ‘o’er-full heart’ to find relief in tears. This continued agony (it lasted more than an hour) was, from its very silence, more oppressive to the spectators than would have been any wall of agony, or any shriek of horror, that the mysterious power of maternal and filial love could have forced from the panting hearts of either.”[42]

“Miss Anna Surratt was in the court room all of the afternoon, dressed in black as heretofore. She sat but three or four feet from her mother, and held some conversation with her through an officer.”[43]


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[1] John F. Hartranft, The Lincoln Assassination Conspirators: Their Confinement and Execution, as Recorded in the Letterbook of John Frederick Hartranft, ed. Edward Steers, Jr. and Harold Holzer (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 2009), 113.
[2] Evening Star (Washington, D.C.), June 2, 1865, 2.
[3] William C. Edwards, ed., The Lincoln Assassination – The Court Transcripts (Self-published: Google Books, 2012), 812.
[4] Edwards, Court Transcripts, 812 – 813.
[5] Ibid., 813 – 822.
[6] Evening Star (Washington, D.C.), June 2, 1865, 2.
[7] William C. Edwards and Edward Steers, Jr., ed, The Lincoln Assassination: The Evidence (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2009), 1081.
[8] Edwards, Court Transcripts, 822 – 824.
[9] Ibid., 824 – 827.
[10] Evening Star (Washington, D.C.), June 2, 1865, 2.
[11] Edwards, Court Transcripts, 827.
[12] Ibid., 827 – 829.
[13] Ibid., 829 – 833.
[14] Ibid., 833 – 835.
[15] Ibid., 835 – 837.
[16] Ibid., 837 – 838.
[17] Ibid., 838 – 839.
[18] Ibid., 839 – 843.
[19] Ibid., 843 – 845.
[20] Ibid., 845 – 851.
[21] Betty J. Ownsbey, Alias “Paine”: Lewis Thornton Powell, the Mystery Man of the Lincoln Conspiracy, Second Edition (Jefferson: McFarland & Co., 2015), 167 – 182.
[22] Edwards, Court Transcripts, 851 – 852.
[23] Ibid., 852 – 859.
[24] Ibid., 859 – 861.
[25] Ibid., 861 – 864.
[26] Ibid., 864 – 865.
[27] Ibid., 865 – 866.
[28] Ibid., 867 – 871.
[29] Ibid., 871 – 874.
[30] Hartranft, Letterbook, 113.
[31] August V. Kautz, June 2, 1865 diary entry (Unpublished diary: Library of Congress, August V. Kautz Papers).
[32] Evening Star (Washington, D.C.), June 2, 1865, 2.
[33] Evening Star (Washington, D.C.), June 2, 1865, 2.
[34] The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA), June 3, 1865, 4.
[35] New-York Tribune (New York, NY), June 3, 1865, 1.
[36] Boston Daily Advertiser (Boston, MA), June 3, 1865, 1.
[37] The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA), June 3, 1865, 4.
[38] The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA), June 3, 1865, 4.
[39] The World (New York, NY), June 3, 1865, 4.
[40] Evening Star (Washington, D.C.), June 2, 1865, 2.
[41] New-York Tribune (New York, NY), June 3, 1865, 1.
[42] Daily Morning Chronicle (Washington, D.C.), June 3, 1865, 4.
[43] Boston Daily Advertiser (Boston, MA), June 3, 1865, 1.
The drawing of the conspirators as they were seated on the prisoners’ dock on this day was created by artist and historian Jackie Roche.

1 Comment

One thought on “June 2, 1865

  1. Pingback: The Trial Today: June 2 | BoothieBarn

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