February 09, 2009: Barry Cauchon.
On February 6, 2009, while preparing chapters 7 & 8 for my series on “The Lincoln Conspirator Execution Photos – A Study in Detail” I made a discovery. It seemed that the accepted order of the ten photographs of the event taken by Alexander Gardner was incorrect. If my observations are right, the order of the photos need to be revised.
Here is what I found out.
#1 – The Empty Scaffold was the first photo taken in the series. No one debates this placement.
THE ORDER CONFLICT – The next three photographs are the images where the order is in dispute.
#2 – Arrival at Scaffold (1) was the second photo taken. In James L. Swanson and Daniel R. Weinberg’s book, “Lincoln’s Assassins: Their Trial and Execution”, this photo is incorrectly placed. It is shown as being 3rd.
#3 – Reading the Death Warrant shown in the Swanson / Weinberg book is listed as 4th.
#4 – The Ministers Pray (historically called Arrival at Scaffold)(2) is shown in the Swanson / Weinberg book as the 2nd photo taken.
Before I continue I just want to say that I have great respect for the book “Lincoln’s Assassins: Their Trial and Execution”. It really is a wonderful book and I can’t recommend it enough. However, the flaw in the order of photos #2, 3 & 4 should be clarified.
When the Swanson / Weinberg book was first published in 2001, they would not have had on-line access to the Library of Congress photos that are available today. And because of those high-rez images, we are now able to zoom in and see the details that the authors and other researchers may not have been privy to.
You can see all of the detailed images from photographs 2, 3 & 4 in my series “The Lincoln Conspirator Execution Photos – A Study in Detail”, Chapters 7, 8 & 9.
But briefly, here is what I saw and discovered when I zoomed in on the details.
Photo #2: Arrival at Scaffold: The execution party has just arrived and the scaffold is now crowded with 25 people. Things to note: a) Only three of the four prisoners have been seated so far. David Herold was just beginning to sit when the photo was taken. b) Only one umbrella has been opened to shield everyone from the hot sun. c) Everyone in the photo has their hats (or head coverings) on to protect them from the sun. d) General Hartranft holds the Death Warrant in his hand and is preparing himself to read it. The soldiers and staff near him are almost in the exact same position as they will be in the next photograph.
Photo #3: Reading of the Death Warrant: As per the numerous eyewitness reports from newspapers and individuals at the execution, the reading of the Death Warrant came next in the proceedings. a) All four prisoners are now seated. b) Four umbrellas are open. c) Everyone still has their hat or head coverings on (except for one minister who is holding an umbrella). He previously wore his hat in Photo #2. d) General Hartranft now reads the Death Warrant with his staff and soldiers surrounding him.
Photos #4: The Ministers Pray: After the Death Warrant was read, Rev. Dr. Abram Dunn Gillette (Lewis Powell’s minister) stepped forward to publicly thank General Hartranft and his staff (on behalf of Lewis Powell) for their kind treatment during his imprisonment. Gillette and then two other ministers prayed publicly out loud for their charges. Corporal Wm. Coxshall, the soldier who stood below the scaffold (front left) reported that ““Umbrellas were raised above the woman and Hartranft, who read the warrants and findings. Then the clergy took over, talking what seemed to me interminably… ” a) Powell and Herold have had their hats removed. Atzerodt has had his white kerchief (or nightcap) removed and placed on the railing. This could be because the ministers have asked everyone to pray. b) Rev. Dr. Abram Dunn Gillette kneels to pray by Lewis Powell’s side. Mary Surratt’s two priests attend to her (Father Walter holds a cross to her lips and Father Wiget prays from his prayer book).
To look at all of the details from these, and the other photos from this series, see Chapter 1 under this link.
https://awesometalks.wordpress.com/the-lincoln-conspirators-execution-photos-a-study-in-detail-chapter-1-introduction/BestBarryoutreach@awesometalks.com——————————————————————————————-If you are interested in reading interviews from several historians, scholars and performers, take a look at the links below.