The Specifications and Findings of the Military Commission
SENTENCES OF THE PRISONERS
Harold Payne, Atzerott and Mrs. Surratt to be Hanged To-day
The President’s Order for Their Execution
Dr. Mudd, Arnold and O’Laughlen to be imprisoned for Life
Spangler to be Confined in the Penitentiary for Six Years
Approval of the Sentences by the President
The Albany Penitentiary Designated as Their Place of Confinement
The Sentences Communicated to the Prisoners
How the Announcement of Their Doom was Received
The Scaffold Erected in the Yard of the Old Penitentiary
Washington, July 6, 1865
In accordance with the findings and sentences of the Military Commission, which President Johnson approved yesterday, David E. Harold, Lewis Payne, Mrs. Mary E. Surratt and George A. Azterott are to be hanged to morrow by the proper military authorities.
Dr. Mudd, Samuel Arnold and O’Langhlin are to be imprisoned for life.
Spangler is sentenced to six years imprisonment as hard labor in the Penitentiary at Albany.
The Findings and Sentences in the Cases of the Assassination Conspirators
Washington, July 6, 1865
The following important order has just been issued:--
WAR DEPARTMENT, ASSISTANT GENERAL OFFICE,}
WASHINGTON, JULY 6, 1865
To Major General W.S. Hancock, United States Volunteers, commanding Middle Military Division, Washington , D.C.:--
Whereas, by the Military Commission appointed in paragraph 4, special orders No. 211, dated War Department, Adjutant General Office, May 6, 1865, and of which Major General David Hunter, United States Volunteers, is President, the following persons were tried and sentenced as hereinafter stated, as follows:--
First—David E. Harold
Finding—Of the specification “guilty” except combining, confederating and conspiring with Edward Spangler, as to which part thereof “not guilty”. Of the charge of “guilty”, except the words of the charge that “he combined, confederated and conspired with Edward Spangler”, as to which part of the charge “not guilty”.
Sentence—And the Commission do, therefore, sentence him, the said George E. Harold, to be hanged by the neck until he is dead, at such time and place as the President of the United States shall direct, two-thirds of the members of the Commission concurring therein.
Second—George A. Atzerott
Finding—Of the specification “guilty”, except combining confederating and conspiring with Edward Spangler. Of this “not guilty”.
Sentence—And the Commission do, therefore, sentence him, the said George A. Atzerott, to be hanged by the neck until he is dead, at such time and place as the President of the United States shall direct, two-thirds of the members of the Commission concurring therein.
Finding—Of the specification, “guilty” except combining, confederating and conspiring with Edward Spangler. Of this “not guilty”. Of the charge “guilty” except as to combining, confederating and conspiring with Edward Spangler. Of this “not guilty”.
Sentence—And the Commission do, therefore, sentence him, the said Lewis Payne, to be hanged by the neck until he is dead, at such time and place as the President of the United States shall direct, two-thirds of the members of the Commission concurring therein.
Fourth—Mary E. Surratt
Finding—Of the specification “guilty”, except as to the receiving, entertaining, harboring and concealing Samuel Arnold and Michael O’Laughlen, and except as to combining, confederating and conspiring with Edward Spangler. Of this “not guilty”. Of the charge “guilty” except as to combining, confederating and conspiring with Edward Spangler. Of this “not guilty”.
Sentence—And the commission do, therefore, sentence her, the said Mary E. Surratt, to be hanged by the neck until she be dead, at such time and place as the President of the United States shall direct, tow-thirds of the members of the Commission concurring therein.
THE SENTENCES APPROVED BY THE PRESIDENT
And whereas, the President of the United States has approved the forgoing sentences in the following order, to wit:--
EXECUTIVE MANSON, July 5, 1865
The foregoing sentences is the cases of David E. Harold, George A. Atzerott, Lewis Payne and Mary E. Surratt are hereby approved; and it is ordered that the sentences in he cases of David E. Harold, George A. Atzerott, Lewis Payne and Mary E. Surratt be carried into execution by the proper military authority, under the direction of the Secretary of War, on the seventh day of July, 1865, between the hours of ten o’clock A.M. and two o’clock P.M. of that day.
ANDREW JOHNSON, President
Therefore, you are hereby commanded to cause the foregoing sentences, in the cases of David E. Harold, G.A. Atzerott, Lewis Payne and Mary E. Surratt, to be duly executed in accordance with the President’s order.
By command of the President of the United States.
Assistant Adjutant General
THE FINDINGS AND SENTENCES IN THE CASES OF O’Laughlen, SPANGLER, ARNOLD AND MUDD.
In the remaining cases of O’Laughlen, Spangler, Arnold and Mudd, the findings and sentences are as follows:--
Finding—Of the specification “guilty,” except the words thereof as follows:--“And in the further prosecution of the conspiracy aforesaid, and the murderous and treasonable purpose aforesaid, on the nights of the 13th and 14th of April, A.D. 1865, at Washington City, and within the military department and military lines aforesaid, the said Michael O’Laughlen did, then and there, lie in wait for Ulysses S. Grant, then Lieutenant General and Commander of the Armies of the United States, with intent, then and there, to kill and murder the said Ulysses S. Grant.” Of said words “not guilty,” and except “combining, confederating and conspiring with Edward Spangler.” Of the not guilty. Of the charge “guilty,” except “combining, confederating and conspiring with Edward Spangler.” Of this “not guilty.”
Sentence—The Commission sentence Michael O’Laughlen to be imprisoned at hard labor for life.
Finding—Of the specification “not guilty,” except as to the words, “the said Edward Spangler, on said 14th day of April, A.D. 1865, at about the same hour of that day, as aforesaid, within and military department and the military lines aforesaid, did aid and abet him,” meaning John Wilkes Booth, “in making his escape,” after the said Abraham Lincoln had been murdered in the manner aforesaid, and of these words “guilty.” Of the charge not guilty, but guilty of having feloniously and traitorously aided and abetted John Wilkes Booth in making his escape after having killed and murdered Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, he, the said Edward Spangler at the time of aiding and abetting as aforesaid, well knowing this the said Abraham Lincoln, President as aforesaid, had been murdered by the said John Wilkes Booth, as aforesaid.
Sentence—The Commission sentence Spangler to be confined at hard labor for six years.
Finding—Of the specifications “guilty,” except combining, confederating and conspiring with Edward Spangler; of this “not guilty.” Of the charge “guilty,” except combining, confederating and conspiring with Edward Spangler; of this “not guilty.”
Sentence—The Commission sentence him to imprisonment at hard labor for life.
Eighth—Samuel A. Mudd
Finding—Of the specification “guilty,” except combining, confederating and conspiring with Edward Spangler; of this “not guilty;” and excepting receiving and entertaining, and harboring and concealing said Lewis Payne, John W. Surratt, Michael O’Laughlen, George A. Atzerott, Mary E. Surratt and Samuel Arnold; of this “not guilty.” Of the charge “guilty,’ except combining, confederating and conspiring with Edward Spangler; of this “not guilty.”
Sentence—The Commission sentence Dr. Mudd to be imprisoned at hard labor for life.
THE PRESIDENT’S ORDER APPROVING THE ABOVE SENTENCES
The President’s order in these cases is as follows:--
It is further ordered that the prisoners Samuel Arnold, Samuel A. Mudd, Edward Spangler and Michael O’Laughlen be confined at hard labor in the Penitentiary, at Albany, New York, during the period designated in their respective sentences.
ANDREW JOHNSON, President
Our Special Washington Dispatch
Washington, July 6, 1865
The public were taken by surprise this afternoon by the publication of the sentences of the assassination conspirators and the order for the execution tomorrow of the four condemned to be hung. Of course this subject has engrossed the thoughts and conversation of the people since. As soon as it was known that General Hancock was charged with the execution of the sentences be was overwhelmed wit applications for passes to witness the execution. But a few of them could be granted, however, as the accommodation of the yard where the execution are to take place are very limited. Very liberal provisions have been made for the accommodation of the ______ of the press, who are under obligation to General Hancock for his kindness and disposition to facilitate their labors.
At first the truth of the statement was doubted, as account of the shortness of the time intervening between the approval and the execution of the sentences of death. The official orders soon dissipated all doubt on the subject. The justice of the findings said sentences is universally conceded; but the sentiment seems to be very general that it would have been better to have postponed the execution until a week from tomorrow. Very little feeling exists on the subject, however, and it makes but little difference how soon the affair is over. The reasons for such apparent haste are undoubtedly to satisfy the public desire for execution to follow swiftly on the heels of judgment, and to also escape the thousands of useless intercessions and importunities that would be made for pardons of commutations of sentence were the executions postponed for sixty or even thirty days.
In the cases of Payne, Harold and Atzerott there is great concurrence of opinion, but that of Mrs. Surratt elicits discussion. We have not converged with a single individual who has not manifested great sympathy for her, and who does not condemn in some terms the determination of the authorities to make her punishment capital. The feeling springs from a universal repugnance to hanging a woman, no matter for what offense. But few deny its justice. None believe her innocent, but all respect her sex.
The proceedings and findings were taken up by the President yesterday morning, and be reviewed them, with Judge Holt. All other visitors were excluded during the day. After a patient examination of the evidence the President approved the findings and sentence of the court, and issued the necessary orders for promptly carrying them into effect.
Since the sentences of the conspirators were made public the friends of those sentenced to death have been unceasing in their efforts to obtain an interview with the President, in order to endeavor to obtain a commutation of their sentences, or at least a respite. The President has, however, been unable to see them, and has referred them all to Judge Holt. Among the applicants were the sisters of Harold, the spiritual adviser and the counsel of Mrs. Surratt, and the wife of Dr. Mudd. There is not the slightest hope of either commutation of reprieve, except in the case of Mrs. Surratt. In her case there is some reason to believe that her sentence may be commuted to imprisonment for life, or at least that she may be reprieved, though it is very slight. The others will undoubtedly be executed, as ordered, tomorrow.
A little before noon today Generals Hancock and Hartranft repaired to the military prison, when the sentences of the Military Commission, approved by the President, were read to each of the prisoners by General Hartranft in General Hancock presence.
The convict Payne was the first visited. He listened to the reading with great apparent composure, and maintained a marvelous self-possession throughout. He evidently expected nothing else, and was fully prepared in mind to meet his fate. His behavior has been calm and unexceptionable ___ throughout his incarceration. If the proofs of his crime could be blotted from the recollection of men, there would be found much in his conduct to challenge the admiration of every one. During his imprisonment he has not been very communicative concerning himself or others, but has not been detected in any prevarication or duplicity. He seems t have gone into the plot deliberately, and accepts the consequence stoically. He expressed his regrets this afternoon that any conduct of his should have tended to implicate Mrs. Surratt, and thinks John Surratt a great villain for not remaining to die with his mother. When asked if he desired his friends to be notified of his sentence, he replied, “No, they were too far away to come in season.” If seems beyond doubt that his real name in Powell, and that his friends and relatives reside in Florida. At his request Dr. Stracker, a Baptist minister of Baltimore, was sent for.
Atzerott was next visited in his cell, and was much affected by the reading of his sentence. He entertained hopes of acquittal, or at most of being imprisoned a term of years. He desired to see a Lutheran minister, but expressed no preference for any individual. Rev. Mr. Butler, pastor of the Lutheran church, corner of H and Eleventh streets, was sent for and visited him twice during the day and evening. Atzerott communicated to him that he had been religiously reared in boyhood, but has never professed religion himself. He inquired earnestly if there was no hope for his being pardoned, and, when positively assured there was none whatever gave way to paroxysm of grief and became greatly prostrated.
Surgeon Porter, of the regular army, has visited the prisoners twice daily since their confinement, and this afternoon reported Atzerott greatly depressed, and that he had prescribed frequent and full stimulants of brandy for his restoration. Atzerott maintains his original declaration that he only conspired with Booth and others for the President’s capture, and the moment he discovered he was to play the assassin he declined to cooperate further, and attempted to break away from his associates. In this assertion he has been consistent throughout.
The scaffold has been erected in the south yard of the old Penitentiary building, which is enclosed by a high brick wall. The coffins and burial clothes have already been prepared. Only a limited number of persons will be admitted to the scene. The sentences of the conspirators who are to be imprisoned will be carried into immediate effect.