Canvas Hood - Lincoln Conspiracy Defendants

Canvas Hood - Lincoln Conspiracy Defendants Crimes and Criminals American History Famous Historical Events Social Studies Trials

Secretary of War Edwin Stanton issued an order that all but two of the Lincoln-conspiracy defendants had to wear hoods over their faces at all times - except when they were in court.  Only Mary Surratt and Dr. Samuel Mudd did not have to wear the hoods.

This image depicts one of those hoods which is maintained by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.  The Smithsonian also provides this description:

This is one of the canvas hoods Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton ordered to be made and placed over the heads of the eight Lincoln conspirators during their confinement in the Old Penitentiary.

The hood covered the entire head, except for a small opening at the mouth to allow for eating.  It was tied securely around the neck and was all the more stifling given the sultriness of Washington's early summer weather.  Mrs. Surratt was not made to wear a hood for fear of public indignation.

In addition to being confined in separate cells, each prisoner was placed in wrist irons and anklets connected to a seventy-five-pound ball.  These medieval-like measures were all taken on the orders of Secretary Stanton, who believed at the time that Lincoln's assassination was the result of a Confederate plot.

Media Credits

Image, and quoted passage, online courtesy Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of American History.


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"Canvas Hood - Lincoln Conspiracy Defendants" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Jan 22, 2019.
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