THE EXECUTION OF MRS. SURRATT
While President Johnson was busy with executive duties, the War Department had been busy running down and trying the assassins of Mr. Lincoln. After murdering Lincoln at Ford's Theater on April 14, John Wilkes Booth jumped upon the stage and mock-heroically exclaimed, "Sic semper tyrannis." In the excitement, though his leg was caught in the drapery and broken, he made his escape, crossing the Long Bridge and reaching Dr. Mudd's twelve miles away in Maryland. Next day the War Department got on the trail and arrested eight persons, David E. Herold, Edward Spengler, Lewis Payne, Michael O'Loughlin, Samuel Arnold, George A. Atzerodt, and Dr. Samuel A. Mudd. John H. Surratt, though suspected, escaped to Europe.
On April 27 Booth and Herold were surrounded in a barn on the Virginia side and Booth was shot to death by Burton Corbett. Corbett was First Sergeant of his company, an eccentric gloomy personage, who afterwards killed himself, first shooting up a state legislature. When called to account for killing Booth, he replied, "Colonel, Providence directed me!" Booth's body was wrapped in a blanket and taken to Washington. When it reached there "Dr. John Frederick May examined it. He recognized Booth's features and also a scar on his neck, the result of an operation the doctor had performed."1 The body was secretly buried under the old penitentiary. In Booth's pockets were found various articles--a pipe, a spur, a compass, and a diary. Four years later President Johnson gave Edwin Booth, brother of John Wilkes, leave to remove Booth's body. One midnight in February 1869 Edwin Booth and the family dentist went to the grave and exhumed the body and thoroughly identified it. There were gold fillings in the teeth which the dentist knew to be his work. The long raven____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Andrew Johnson:Plebeian and Patriot. Contributors: Robert W. Winston - Author. Publisher: Henry Holt. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1928. Page number: 277.
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