The Lincoln Assassination Trials

On April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth fatally shot President Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC.  Booth was shot and killed 12 days later. Eight alleged conspirators were tried before a military commission and convicted; four were sentenced to hanging.

A ninth alleged conspirator, John Surratt fled the country when he learned of Lincoln’s assassination, and was not captured and returned to the United States until November, 1866. The U.S. House Judiciary Committee issued a report criticizing the “the executive department of the government” for failing to use “due diligence” in arresting Surratt (39 H.R. 33). He was ultimately tried in a civilian court but acquitted of murder after a mistrial.

The Law Library of Congress has digitized documents related to the assassination trials available here.

The-ConspiratorsThe Conspirators: Mary E. Surratt, David E. Herold,  Lewis Payne, George A. Atzerodt, Edward Spangler, Samuel A. Mudd, Samuel Arnold, Michael O’Laughlin
(Source: Law Library of Congress)