THE NEW YORK HERALD, MAY 18, 1865 – TRIAL OF THE LINCOLN ASSASSINATION CONSPIRATORS

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Whole No. 10,489.  Overall very good condition; light age yellowing/foxing throughout. Tear on the upper left of front page extends approx. 2” inward from left edge, then upwards approx. 1 ¾”.

Page 1 – “The TRIAL – Additional Evidence of Dr. Mudd’s Complicity with the Assassins. Interesting Testimony of Jett, a rebel soldier. Harold announces himself and Booth as the Murderers. The pursuit of Booth and Harold. Graphic Description of the Scene at Garret’s Farm (where Booth was killed). Colonel Congers and Sergeant Corbett’s Narrative of the Death of Booth and the Arrest of Harold. Atzerott’s Connection with the Plot. “

The Evidence on Tuesday -

-Testimony of LT. Alexander Lovett – who questioned Dr. Mudd twice after he set the broken leg of Booth.

-Testimony of Joshua Lloyd – who questioned Dr. Mudd who then recollected meeting Booth previously. And the finding of Booth’s boot, which Mudd removed to set his leg.

-Testimony of Colonel HH Welles – on questioning Dr. Mudd. Mudd  three times. Mudd described how Booth appeared at his home at 4 am  (after the assassination) with a broken leg. How he treated Booth and then let him rest in a bedroom. He had a servant make a crutch for Booth and fed him and Harold breakfast. Booth shaved off his mustache. They left Dr. Mudd’s house at approximately 4 pm the next day.

-Testimony of William Williams – who arrested Dr. Mudd, after Mudd  first denied meeting two strangers at his house. He describes how the boot was found with the name inside  -‘John Wilkes Booth’.

-Testimony of Mrs. Emma Offult – who was with Lloyd in the carriage during the chance meeting of Lloyd and Mrs. Surratt on the road. It was during this meeting that it is alleged that Mrs. Surratt told Lloyd to have the Spencer Carbines ready. (Booth was found with them).

-Testimony of Wm. P Jett. (to this day Jett remains one of the mysteries of the assassination. It is possible he was a member of the Confederate Secret Service and part of the plot). Jett was in Mosby’s confederate cavalry in northern Virginia.
(which Booth had hoped to use in his unsuccessful kidnapping attempt of Lincoln in January 1865). Jett freely admitted assisting Booth and Harold in their escape, and in crossing a river. He claims Harold told him they were the assassins of Lincoln. He states he was introduced to JWB as the assassin. Yet given all this, Jett was never arrested for his role in aiding Booth and conducting him to the Garrett Farm. Adding to the mystery, his examination at the trial was very brief compared to others with less direct involvement with the Booth escape route.

-Testimony of Lt. Col. E.J. Conger.  Who led the search for Booth. He states he met with Jett at his hotel room and Jett offered to take the cavalry detachment to Garrett Farm where Booth and Harold were hiding.

Congers testimony is the fullest account of Booth’s death. He states he threatened to hang Mr. Garrett if he didn’t tell the truth. And being led to the barn, he had his 25 men surround it and starts a dialog with Booth and Harold to surrender.

He says Booth says to him the line that has always puzzled historians:  – “This is hard, because it may be that I am I to be taken by my friends”.  Possibly a statement that implies that there were others involved in his conspiracy on either the Union or Confederate side.

Booth asks Conger to pull his men back 100 yards, and he will come out and fight them. And when Congers refuses, Booth states “well my brave boys, you may prepare a stretcher for me”

Congers prepares to burn the barn down. And Booth and Harold argue about surrendering. Harold wishes to surrender and Booth calls him ‘ a damn coward’. Harold comes thru the barn door and is captured. And Congers sets the barn on fire.

Congers describes seeing Booth in the burning barn thru a crack in the wood. He states Booth had raised his carbine towards the door. There is a shot and Booth falls. Congers and some men rush into the burning barn and carry Booth out.

Booth is carried under a tree and asks for water. Booth says “tell my mother that I died for my country”. Booth is carried to the porch of the Garrett Farm. Booth in his suffering says “kill me, kill me”. Booth finally dies. And Congers empties his pockets. He says he put together Booth’s possessions – knife, belt, cartridge box, pistols, pocket compass and Spencer Carbine, loaded. And bills of exchange.

In yet another enduring mystery – Congers never mentions the most important piece of evidence found on Booth’s body – the diary he kept after the assassination. And when finally released by Secretary of War Stanton, had important dates entries ripped from the diary. And none of the judges asked about it. In addition the bills of exchange were from a Montreal Bank (where the Confederate Secret Service was based, and where Booth visited in early 1865). Yet Congers never mentions that the bills were from Montreal, and none of the judges questioned it, although during the trial they went to elaborate lengths to find complicity with the Montreal Confederate Secret Service.

-Testimony of Sgt. Boston Corbett – who shot Booth. He deploys men around the barn and describes about a half hour of negotiation to get Booth and Harold to surrender. He states at one point Booth says – ‘well Captain, make quick work, shoot me thru the heart”.

Corbett sees Booth raise his carbine in the burning barn. Corbett (without orders) fires. “the ball entered his head a little back of the ear and came out a little higher on the other side of the head”. Booth dies two or three hours after he is shot.

Corbett’s motives have always been in question, perhaps more guided by the reward money offered than military necessity. Even at the trial he speaks about how his motives have already been questioned. In fact, Corbett was later arrested for disobeying orders in killing and not capturing Booth, but was released by Secretary of War Stanton. In 1888 Corbett was declared insane and disappeared.

Page 8

– Testimony of John Fletcher on Atzerott’s renting horses for Booth and Harold, and how Booth and Harold escaped on horseback from Ford’s theater.

-Testimony of John Greenwalt on Atzerott getting drunk, and going to Kirkwood House, where he was supposed to assassinate the Vice President.

-Testimony of Thomas Gardner – who states that Dr. Mudd had accompanied Booth when Booth bought a horse from him, months before the assassination.

-The examination of Ford’s Theater – the judges inspect Ford’s theatre in detail.

Page  4

- Editorial claiming the assassination plot was hatched in Canada by the agents of the Confederate Secret Service and Jeff Davis.

-Grand Review of 200,000 troops planned for Washington.   [KM/LD]

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