The Christmas Shopping Trip that Never Was

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On December 23, 1864, Louis Weichmann left his Washington, D.C., boardinghouse to do some Christmas shopping for gifts for his sisters. Instead, he was waylaid by history. Weichmann, age twenty-two, was employed in the War Department. In the fall of …

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Sarah Slater and Her Souvenir Spoons: Her Last Will and Testament

As those who are familiar with the goings-on at Mary Surratt’s boardinghouse know, one of the more intriguing characters to pass through its doors was a veiled lady named Sarah Slater, a courier for the Confederate government who traveled on …

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Mary Surratt’s Boarders

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In the fall of 1864, Mary Surratt, a widow from Prince George’s County, Maryland, moved to Washington, D.C. and opened her property at 541 H Street (the light-colored house below) to boarders. Mary’s late husband, John, had acquired the house years …

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Two Letters from a Grieving Daughter

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Whatever one believes about the guilt or innocence of Mary Surratt, her daughter, Anna, is surely deserving of our sympathy. On July 6, 1865, she had been given the horrifying news that her mother would be executed; the following day, …

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July 6-7, 1865

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On July 6, 1865, General John F. Hartranft, who had been placed in charge of Washington, D.C.’s Old Arsenal Prison, went from cell to cell, informing Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell (known at the time by his alias of Lewis Payne), …

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Lincoln Remembered in Washington, D.C.

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It’s a beautiful spring evening in Washington, D.C., way too nice to be sitting in a hotel room, but I had a marvelous two days and wanted to talk about them while they were fresh in my mind. (Apologies for …

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April 3, 1865: Richmond Falls, and John Surratt Departs

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One hundred and fifty years ago today, on April 3, 1865, Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Confederacy, fell to the Union. The day before, Jefferson Davis and his cabinet had fled the city, having authorized the burning of warehouses …

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The Carte de Visite and the Lincoln Assassination

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Lately, I’ve developed a weakness for cartes de visite—the small photographs that were prized during the last half of the nineteenth century—and have amassed a tiny collection of them, including one of my favorites here of an unidentified lady. As …

Posted in American Civil War, Mary Surratt, Nora Fitzpatrick | 6 Comments

New Website Material for Hanging Mary

I’ve been tinkering a bit with my website. For my forthcoming novel (for which I hope to be able to post cover art soon), I’ve added a list of further reading as well as a PDF article about my research on …

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Guest Post by Jeffrey Stayton, Author of This Side of the River

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Today I’m happy to be hosting Jeffrey Stayton, who’s written a novel set in the immediate aftermath of the American Civil War called This Side of the River. Over to Jeffrey! Nostalgia One of the most difficult aspects of writing …

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