Andrew Johnson: Plebeian and Patriot

By Robert W. Winston | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII
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-

____________________
1
Lincoln Obsequies, in Library of Congress, p. 97.

-277-

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Andrew Johnson: Plebeian and Patriot
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Prefatory Note v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Part I: Odds - 1808-1860 1
  • Chapter I - Runaway Apprentice 3
  • Chapter II - A. Johnson, Tailor 15
  • Chapter III - Successor to Andrew Jackson 26
  • Chapter IV - Congressman 40
  • Chapter V - On the Stump 58
  • Chapter VI - Governor and Senator 76
  • Chapter VII - Home Life 95
  • Chapter VIII - Jeff Davis Spoils the Broth 108
  • Chapter IX - Father of the Homestead 128
  • Chapter X - Impasse 142
  • Part Ii: Alone - 1860-1865 153
  • Chapter I - Testing Time 155
  • Chapter II - Lion-Heart 174
  • Chapter III - Fight for Tennessee 188
  • Chapter IV - Senatorial Whip 205
  • Chapter V - Military Governor 217
  • Chapter VI - Lincoln and Johnson 243
  • Chapter VII - Vice-President 263
  • Chapter VIII - The Execution of Mrs. Surratt 277
  • Chapter IX - Hero of an Hour 292
  • Chapter X - Thad Stevens Pockets Congress 307
  • Part Iii: Unbowed - 1865 and After 323
  • Chapter I - Presidential Reconstruction 325
  • Chapter II - Swinging Round the Circle 347
  • Chapter III - Veto Follows Veto 372
  • Chapter IV - The Great Reconstruction 390
  • Chapter V - Impeachment of the President 405
  • Chapter VI - The Trial 428
  • Chapter VII - Foreign and Domestic Policy 455
  • Chapter VIII - Leaving the White House 471
  • Chapter IX - The Come-Back 490
  • Chapter X - Sixty Years After 510
  • Appendix A 521
  • Appendix B 522
  • Appendix C 526
  • Bibliography 529
  • Index 541
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