The Execution of the Lincoln Conspirators
On the afternoon of July 7, 1865, the trap doors of the scaffold in the yard of Washington’s Old Penitentiary were sprung, and Mary Surratt, Lewis Paine, David Herold and George Atzerodt dropped to their deaths. The four had been convicted of ‘treasonable conspiracy’ in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, and had learned that they were to be hanged only a day before their execution. Shortly after 1 p.m. the prisoners were led onto the scaffold and prepared for execution. The props supporting the platform were knocked away at about 2 p.m. Assassin John Wilkes Booth had been killed on April 26, 12 days after Lincoln’s assassination. Other convicted conspirators–Edman Spangler, Dr. Samuel Mudd, Samuel Arnold and Michael O’Laughlin–were imprisoned.
Photo: Library of Congress