By noon on July 7th, 1865, the temperature was in the 90s and the humidity was high. Mary Surratt was being comforted be her daughter, Anna. They were in a prison courtyard, where Mary was being held. Mary was to be hanged for her part in the Lincoln assassination — nowadays, many question she had any part at all.
At 12:30 pm, the prison told all guests to leave. Anna was dragged away from her mother, screaming and proclaiming her mother’s innocence. Anna’s screams could he heard throughout the entire prison.
More than 1,000 people gathered by the gallows in the courtyard to watch four “Lincoln conspirators” to be hanged. From left to right: Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold, and George Atzerodt. At 1:15 pm, the condemned were led to the gallows, and were binded and blinded with white cloth covering their heads and tying their feet and hands together.
Mary complained about the cloth being to tight, to which a soldier told her, “Well, it wont hurt long.” Lewis Powell’s final words were, “Mary Surratt is innocent. She doesn’t deserve to die like the rest of us!” The plea was ignored.
The signal was given, and the four “conspirators” suddenly dropped. Surratt’s death was quick. George Atzerodt struggled, but quickly hung still. Lewis Powell and David Herold struggled for five minutes, before dying.
On this day, in 1865, Mary Surratt was the first women to be executed by the United States government.