The Lincoln assassination conspirators: their confinement and execution, as recorded in the letterbook of John Frederick Hartranft

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Louisiana State University Press,
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On May 1, 1865, two weeks after Abraham Lincoln's assassination, recently inaugurated president Andrew Johnson appointed John Frederick Hartranft to command the military prison at the Washington Arsenal, where the U.S. government had just incarcerated the seven men and one woman accused of complicity in the shooting. From that day through the execution of four of the accomplices, the Pennsylvania-born general held responsibility for the most notorious prisoners in American history. A strict adherent to protocol, Hartranft kept a meticulously detailed account of his experiences in the form of a letterbook. In The Lincoln Assassination Conspirators, noted Lincoln scholars Edward Steers, Jr., and Harold Holzer, in partnership with the National Archives, present this fascinating historical record for the first time with contextual materials and expert annotations, providing a remarkable glimpse behind the scenes of the assassination's aftermath.Hartranft oversaw every aspect of the prisoners' daily lives, from making sure they were fed and kept clean to ensuring that no one communicated with them except on the written orders of Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. In his Letterbook, Hartranft scrupulously recounts the arrival of each prisoner and describes the prison routine -- which included three simple meals a day, a twice-daily cell inspection by Hartranft himself, and frequent physical examinations by an army physician. The prisoners wore wrist and leg shackles and, controversially, most of them wore special hoods designed to isolate them from their surroundings.When the conspirators' trial began, the nation waited eagerly for news, and many sought retribution against those they held responsible for the nation's grief. Hartranft resisted calls for both vengeance and mercy and continued to treat his notorious charges as humanely as possible, facilitating meetings with clergy and sending letters to and from family members. Yet, as his detached, detailed description of the execution of four of the conspirators shows, he did not allow emotion to impede the performance of his duty. The legal and moral issues surrounding the conspirators' trial -- the extraordinary use of military rather than civil justice, the treatment of the accused while incarcerated, the fine line between swift and precipitous justice -- remain volatile, unsettled issues today. Hartranft's keen observations, ably analyzed by historians Steers and Holzer, will add a riveting new chapter to the story of Lincoln's assassination.

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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID319ba1fa-a23d-7d8b-ac87-6bd26a572b07
Grouping Titlelincoln assassination conspirators their confinement and execution as recorded in the letterbook of
Grouping Authoredward steers jr and harold holzer
Grouping Categorybook
Last Grouping Update2019-12-23 16:11:46PM
Last Indexed2020-02-24 04:39:19AM

Solr Details

auth_author2Hartranft, John F., 1830-1889.
Holzer, Harold.
Steers, Edward, Jr., 1937-
author2-roleHartranft, John F.,1830-1889.
Holzer, Harold.
Steers, Edward,Jr.,1937-
collection_arlingtonAdult Nonfiction
detailed_location_arlingtonCentral Adult Nonfiction
Bib IdItem IdShelf LocCall NumFormatFormat CategoryNum CopiesIs Order ItemIs eContenteContent SourceeContent FileeContent URLsubformatDetailed StatusLast CheckinLocationSub-location
ils:.b13243172.i14176294Central Adult Nonfiction973.7 LINCO1falsefalseOn ShelfJun 04, 2015can
literary_formNon Fiction
literary_form_fullNon Fiction
local_callnumber_arlington973.7 LINCO
owning_library_arlingtonArlington Public Library
Aurora Hills
Columbia Pike
Connection Crystal City
Detention Center
Local History
Bib IdFormatFormat CategoryEditionLanguagePublisherPublication DatePhysical Description
ils:.b13243172BookBooksEnglishLouisiana State University Press, [2009]xiv, 179 pages, 14 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bib IdItem IdGrouped StatusStatusLocally OwnedAvailableHoldableBookableIn Library Use OnlyLibrary OwnedHoldable PTypesBookable PTypesLocal Url
ils:.b13243172.i14176294On ShelfOn Shelffalsetruetruefalsefalsetrue9999
subject_facetAssassins -- United States -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
Executions and executioners -- Washington (D.C.) -- Diaries
Generals -- United States -- Diaries
Hanging -- Washington (D.C.) -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
Imprisonment -- Washington (D.C.) -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
Justice, Administration of -- United States -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
title_displayThe Lincoln assassination conspirators : their confinement and execution, as recorded in the letterbook of John Frederick Hartranft
title_fullThe Lincoln assassination conspirators : their confinement and execution, as recorded in the letterbook of John Frederick Hartranft / edited by Edward Steers, Jr., and Harold Holzer ; with a foreword by Allen Weinstein
title_shortThe Lincoln assassination conspirators
title_subtheir confinement and execution, as recorded in the letterbook of John Frederick Hartranft