Many are unaware of the fact that in 1865 four Lincoln conspirators were executed. Four men and one woman were held accountable for the death of the president — including David Herold, Lewis Powell, George Atzerodt, and Mary Surratt.
According to sources, the day was more than a hundred degrees when photographer Alexander Gardner captured the horrifying scene. The accused were forced to walk by their pine coffins and shallow graves before they were hung.
The story goes that the convicted conspirators supported John Wilkes Booth in his attempt to kill Lincoln.
Court documents reveal that each of the conspirators played calculating roles in the execution plot. For example, Mary Surratt allegedly systematically helping to plan the murder. She also played a role in the management of a blockade running system, by which communication between conspirators was kept steady.
Because Surratt was a woman, there was a massive debate as to whether she should be put to death. In the end, her actions were seen as “masculine” in nature and the courts decided she should be treated the same as a man.
In the case of co-conspirator Lewis Payne, he wasn’t doing much with his life when he was approached by Wilkes Booth and brainwashed into thinking he needed to do something of significance to help the South. He was persuaded to take drastic actions against key officials associated with Lincoln.
Full details of the execution of the four prisoners and detailed histories of their lives is detailed here.
Plus, learn all about the conspiracy to kill Lincoln in this video.