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" With commentary by Terry Alford, Burrus Carnahan, Joan L. Chaconis, Percy Martin, Betty Ownsbey, Edward Steers Jr., Thomas R. Turner, and Laurie Verge On April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. By April 26, eight of the ten people eventually charged as accomplices in Lincoln’s murder were in custody. Booth was killed resisting capture and John Surratt was in Canada, his whereabouts unknown to Federal authorities. In the days that followed, President Johnson issued an Executive Order directing that the persons charged with Lincoln’s murder stand trial before a military tribunal. During the fifty-day trial, over three hundred and sixty witnesses gave testimony. Benn Pitman, a recognized expert in the art of phonography (an early form of shorthand), was awarded a government contract to produce a true and accurate transcription of the testimony. Working with four assistants, Pitman produced transcripts that served the general public through daily releases to select members of the press as well as to the prosecution and the defense. Pitman was given the right to publish the transcriptions for public sale, and he skillfully winnowed the 4,300 pages of transcription into a single 421-page volume. Copies of the original 1865 edition, as well as subsequent reprints, are exceedingly rare. Here for the first time, leading experts in the field lend their insight in a series of commentaries that complement Pitman’s published transcript—included here in its entirety—exposing various perjuries, explaining testimony that has escaped scholarly attention, and clarifying the events surrounding the assassination as never before.
Winner of the 2001 The Lincoln Group of New York's Award of Achievement A History Book Club Selection The assassination of Abraham Lincoln is usually told as a tale of a lone deranged actor who struck from a twisted lust for revenge. This is not only too simple an explanation; Blood on the Moon reveals that it is completely wrong. John Wilkes Booth was neither mad nor alone in his act of murder. He received the help of many, not the least of whom was Dr. Samuel Alexander Mudd, the Charles County physician who has been portrayed as the innocent victim of a vengeful government. Booth was also aided by the Confederate leadership in Richmond. As he made his plans to strike at Lincoln, Booth was in contact with key members of the Confederate underground, and after the assassination these same forces used all of their resources to attempt his escape. Noted Lincoln authority Edward Steers Jr. introduces the cast of characters in this ill-fated drama, he explores why they were so willing to help pull the trigger, and corrects the many misconceptions surrounding this defining moment that changed American history. After completing an acclaimed career as a research scientist at the National Institutes of Health, Edward Steers Jr. has turned his research skills to the Lincoln assassination. He is the author of several books about the president, including The Trial. He lives in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.
In The Assassin’s Accomplice, historian Kate Clifford Larson tells the gripping story of Mary Surratt, a little-known participant in the plot to kill Abraham Lincoln, and the first woman ever to be executed by the federal government of the United States. Surratt, a Confederate sympathizer, ran the boarding house in Washington where the conspirators-including her rebel son, John Surratt-met to plan the assassination. When a military tribunal convicted her for her crimes and sentenced her to death, five of the nine commissioners petitioned President Andrew Johnson to show mercy on Surratt because of her sex and age. Unmoved, Johnson refused-Surratt, he said, "kept the nest that hatched the egg.” Set against the backdrop of the Civil War, The Assassin’s Accomplice tells the intricate story of the Lincoln conspiracy through the eyes of its only female participant. Based on long-lost interviews, confessions, and court testimony, the text explores how Mary’s actions defied nineteenth-century norms of femininity, piety, and motherhood, leaving her vulnerable to deadly punishment historically reserved for men. A riveting narrative account of sex, espionage, and murder cloaked in the enchantments of Southern womanhood, The Assassin’s Accomplice offers a fresh perspective on America’s most famous murder.
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