Mary Elizabeth Surratt – First Woman Executed by the Federal Government
Early in the afternoon on July 7, 1865, Mary Elizabeth Surratt entered the courtyard of the Old Arsenal Prison in Washington City. Behind her were three others who together plotted to kill President Abraham Lincoln. A burning sun beat down on four freshly dug graves near the ascending steps to the top of the gallows and four red-leaf long pine coffins. Two priests helped her up to the top of the stairs to where a chair awaited her arrival with a noose swing in front of her.
The final book in this five-book series, Mary Elizabeth Surratt, was left for last because the case against her is still the subject of much controversy and debate. Even one hundred and fifty years later, there remains over all this time a split on those who feel she was guilty and those who think she was innocent.
This novel will take the reader through the entire trial and lets you decide, innocent or guilty.
Two men gave the most damaging testimony, John Lloyd and Louis Weichmann. Lloyd was addicted to the excessive use of intoxicating liquor. He was utterly intoxicated on the day of Lincoln’s assassination. Weichmann was employed by the War Department under Edwin Stanton, Secretary of War. He could have been influenced in providing testimony to either save his own hanging on the gallows or to get a better job with the government. Who knows for sure?
Was Mary Surratt’s execution the result of anti-Catholic sentiments?
This novel takes an in-depth look at Mary’s entire trial. I believe Mary was doomed from the onset. Her last four days are not described in this book. The conditions in her jail cell were so horrendous, I chose not to include them in my writing.
Mary’s innocence was glossed over, and her very last words after climbing the thirteen steps to the top of the gallows were, “Please don’t let me fall!”
Mary’s case was presented before a military commission and was ruled as unconstitutional nine months later in the Ex parte Milligan decision of April 1866 just in time for her son, John to escape the hangman’s noose when he returned from Egypt.
So, when leaving a review, let me know what you think. Guilty or Innocent?
Highlight of Some Names in the novel: Abraham Lincoln, Surrattsville, Rachel Semus, Emma Offutt, Eliza Hawkins, Susan Jackson, John Wilkes Booth, Benn Pitman, Dr. Samuel Mudd, Louis Weichmann, John Lloyd, Howard’s Livery Stable, George Atzerodt, Herndon House, St. Lawrence Hotel, Reverdy Johnson, Catholic Church, Magruder’s Army, Andrew Johnson, Lewis Powell, Lewis Paine, David Herold, Foxhall, Lafayette Baker, Jefferson Davis, Edwin Stanton, Daily Evening Star, Civil War, William Seward, Ford’s Theater, Ford’s Theatre, Colonel Henry H. Wells, Anna Surratt, Frederick Aiken, John Wesley Clampitt, Honora Fitzpatrick, John Bingham, Jacob Walter, John Hartranft, Old Capitol Prison, Mount Olivet Cemetery, William Tonry, Elizabeth Bessie Jenkins, Christian Rath, Michael O’Laughlen, Edman Spangler, Issac Surratt, Knights of the Golden Circle, Campbell Military Hospital, Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, William H. Crook, Mary Todd Lincoln, Henry Rathbone, Clara Harris, Julia Grant, Schuyler Colfax, John Frederick Parker, Sic Semper Tyrannis, Joseph Burroughs, Laura Keene, Gideon Welles, Salmon Chase, Walt Whitman, Boston Corbet, Eagle Lake Texas, Dilue Rose Harris, Wilhelm Frels, Wintermann Library, Garrett Farm, Sean E. Jacobs, Johann Struss, Charles Struss, Sam Houston, Stonewall Jackson, Stephen F. Austin, The Rose of Brays Bayou, Faith Seventy Times Seven, Gideon Detective Series, The Flaming Blue Sword.