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

Book Cover
Average Rating
Publisher:
Louisiana State University Press,
Pub. Date:
c2009.
Language:
English
Description

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.

Also in this Series
More Like This
Reviews from GoodReads
Loading GoodReads Reviews.
Staff View

Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID 319ba1fa-a23d-7d8b-ac87-6bd26a572b07
full_title lincoln assassination conspirators their confinement and execution as recorded in the letterbook of
author edward steers jr and harold holzer
grouping_category book
lastUpdate 2017-08-14 05:04:52AM

Solr Details

accelerated_reader_interest_level
accelerated_reader_point_value 0
accelerated_reader_reading_level 0
auth_author2 Hartranft, John F., 1830-1889., Holzer, Harold., Steers, Edward.
author2-role Hartranft, John F.,1830-1889., Holzer, Harold., Steers, Edward.
author_display
available_at_arlington Central
collection_arlington Adult Nonfiction
detailed_location_arlington Central Adult Nonfiction
display_description
format_arlington Book
format_category_arlington Books
id 319ba1fa-a23d-7d8b-ac87-6bd26a572b07
isbn 9780807133965
item_details ils:.b13243172|.i14176294|Central Adult Nonfiction|973.7 LINCO|||1|false|false|||||On Shelf|Jun 04, 2015|can||
itype_arlington Hardback
lexile_score -1
literary_form Non Fiction
literary_form_full Non Fiction
local_callnumber_arlington 973.7 LINCO
owning_library_arlington Arlington Public Library, Aurora Hills, Central, Cherrydale, Columbia Pike, Connection Crystal City, Detention Center, Glencarlyn, Local History, Plaza, Shirlington, Westover
owning_location_arlington Central
primary_isbn 9780807133965
publishDate 2009
record_details ils:.b13243172|Book|Books||English|Louisiana State University Press,|c2009.|xiv, 179 p., [14] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.
recordtype grouped_work
scoping_details_arlington ils:.b13243172|.i14176294|On Shelf|On Shelf|false|true|true|false|false|true|999|||
subject_facet Assassins -- 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_display The Lincoln assassination conspirators : their confinement and execution, as recorded in the letterbook of John Frederick Hartranft
title_full The 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_short The Lincoln assassination conspirators :
title_sub their confinement and execution, as recorded in the letterbook of John Frederick Hartranft