lincoln conspirator

This is the Lincoln assassination co-conspirator Lewis Payne being held in federal custody prior to his execution in 1865. As Lincoln was being killed at the Ford Theater, Payne, an Alabama native and Confederate veteran, entered the bedroom of Secretary of State William H. Seward and began to attack him with a large knife.

Execution of the four persons condemned as conspirators, Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold, and George Atzerodt., 7/7/1865

From the series:  Civil War-Era Photographs, ca. 1921 - ca. 1921Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, 1860 - 1985

Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold, and George Atzerodt, convicted as conspirators in John Wilkes Booth’s plot to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln and other members of his administration, were executed by hanging on July 7, 1865 in Washington, DC.  Booth himself was found hiding in a barn in Virginia by a New York Cavalry platoon and shot on April 26, 1865.

More posts from the 150th anniversary of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln

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“Dear Sir,
It is with regret I am forced again to intrude on your valuable time. I know you have but little to devote to individuals. After long weary weeks watching and waiting I have just received a letter from my husband, Doctor Mudd, he says he is very weak and nervous and general health yielding to long and close confinement and improper food. The chains were taken off in December. Since the he has been kept under close guard…”

Letter from S. F. Mudd to President Andrew Johnson, 6/28/1866

File Unit: B-596, Samuel A. Mudd, 1865 - 1931Series: Pardon Case Files, 1853 - 1946Record Group 204: Records of the Office of the Pardon Attorney, 1846 - 1989

In this letter to President Andrew Johnson, Sarah F. Mudd, wife of Dr. Samuel Mudd, pleads for clemency for her husband and reports on his living conditions while he is imprisoned.

The day after President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, Dr. Samuel Mudd set the leg of President Lincoln’s assassin John Wilkes Booth, allowing Booth and his accomplice David Herold to sleep at his house on April 15, 1865.  Dr. Mudd was convicted of conspiring to help Booth escape because he did not alert the authorities to Booth’s presence at his farm.  He was given a life sentence, but was eventually pardoned by President Andrew Johnson on February 8, 1869 following his efforts during a yellow fever epidemic at Fort Jefferson where he was imprisoned.

See Mudd’s application for a pardon from January of 1866, and also Sarah Mudd’s affidavit, testifying that she saw Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth in the fall of 1864 and again on April 15, 1865.


Special thanks to the Citizen Archivists who have helped to transcribe Sarah Mudd’s letter in the National Archives Catalog, it’s now more searchable and accessible!

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