Posts Tagged With: Celestino

New Gallery – Fake Conspirators

As you probably could have guessed, I have been on spring break from school during this last week.  During this time off, I entertained my parents who flew in from Illinois.  I’ve been living in Maryland for eight months now and this was the first time that they have been able to come out and see my place.  I gave them a poor man’s Booth Escape Route Tour, and we spent some days doing Southern Maryland things before heading into D.C.  When they departed, I was able to spend a day researching the files at Ford’s Theatre which I have never done before but thoroughly enjoyed. Since then, I’ve been doing my best to update this site.

Alas, today is the last day of my spring break.  Still I was able to create and put up one more Picture Gallery, albeit a smaller one from the Davy Herold gallery from yesterday.  While these galleries do not contain much in the way of new research, it still takes a considerable amount of time to find appropriate pictures, locate the highest quality versions of them, perform any minor picture editing needed in Photoshop, upload them to this site, write descriptions and citations for them, and then post about them.  I hope that you all are enjoying the galleries as they have been added, as it is my hope, above all else, for this site to be a resource.

The newest Picture Gallery is one that features images from the two Fake Conspirators who were photographed by Alexander Gardner aboard the iron clad monitors: Ernest Hartman Richter and Joao Celestino (aka John M. Celeste).

Ernest Hartman Richter was arrested in his home in Germantown, MD when detectives found his cousin, conspirator George Atzerodt, sleeping there.  Richter, who went by his middle name, Hartman, made the mistake of trying to protect his cousin and originally told invstigators that Atzerodt wasn’t there.  He was brought back to Washington, imprisoned aboard the U.S.S. Saugus, and photographed by Alexander Gardner on April 25th.  After that, he was sent to the Arsenal Penitentiary, transferred to the Old Capitol Prison, and eventually released.

Joao M. Celestino was a Portuguese ship captain who had his schooner and valuables confiscated by the U.S. government in 1864 for running the blockade.  He held a strong hatred for Secretary of State William Seward, whom he blamed for his losses.  The night of the assassination, he was heard to say he wanted to kill Secretary Seward.  After Lewis Powell attempted to do just so later that evening, people remembered his remarks, and Celestino was arrested and placed aboard the Saugus before being moved to the U.S.S. Montauk.  He had his photographs taken on April 27th with conspirator David Herold, who had just been captured.  Celestino was transferred to the Arsenal as well, before being released, himself.

These are the Fake Conspirators – the men whose faces are preserved alongside those of John Wilkes Booth’s inner circle.  They are a farmer protecting his cousin and ship captain with a justifiable grudge against William Seward.  Click here to see the new Fake Conspirators Picture Gallery!

References:
Inside the Walls – 13 Days Aboard the Monitors by John Elliott and Barry Cauchon
Conspiracy: The Portuguese Arressted in Connection with Lincoln’s Assassination by Pedro Jorge Castro

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That Mysterious Ship Captain

Joao M CelestinoYesterday, I received an e-mail from a Portuguese journalist named Pedro Castro.  He kindly informed me that he had written an article for his magazine, Sabado, regarding the mysterious Portuguese ship captain who was imprisoned as one of the conspirators in the assassination of Lincoln and Secretary Seward.  His article is only the second, to my knowledge, that truly explores the exploits of Joao M. Celestino.  Moreover, Mr. Castro uncovers a new piece of information from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Lisbon explaining a point that author Philip Van Doren Stern found very mysterious – why did Celestino’s lawyer write to President Johnson four months after Celestino’s release with the following cryptic message:

“The case is a peculiar one and we only ask that you would appoint some good person to take the evidence and say what compensation Mr Celestino is entitled to and to order the same paid out of the Secret Service fund.”

Click on the following link to read Pedro Castro’s article, “Conspiracy: The Portuguese arrested in connection with Lincoln’s assassination”

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Photographing the Conspirators

Reader littlecoco7 posed the following question under the Quesenberry post:

“This has nothing to do with this topic, but I would like to know out of all the conspirators who had their picture taken from Alexander Gardner, how come there was no photo of Mary Surratt taken?”

Thanks so much for the question littlecoco7.  The mug shots of the conspirators are very valuable resources to us now.  For George Atzerodt, Michael O’Laughlen, and Edman Spangler, these few shots consist of our entire photographic record of their lives.  While engravings and drawings were made of them during their time in the court room, we have yet to find other photographs of these individuals.  Even those who we do have additional images of, the mug shots are unique in showing them as they were almost immediately after the crime was committed.  Before delving into your question as to why Mary Surratt (and Dr. Mudd for that matter) were not photographed with the rest, let’s look into how and when the conspirators were photographed.

The best resource for information about the images of the conspirators is the team of Barry Cauchon and John Elliott.  These talented gentlemen are in the process of writing a highly anticipated book regarding the incarceration of the Lincoln conspirators.  One of my links on the side of this blog is to Barry Cauchon’s blog, “A Little Touch of History” while the pairs’ Facebook page about their book, “Inside the Walls” is here.  Barry and John presented some of their findings at the 2011 and 2012 Surratt Society Lincoln Assassination Conferences.  Their research was remarkable to say the least.  To keep their excited fan base content while waiting for the final publication of their book, they produced two supplementary booklets about their talking points.  The most recent one that they sold at the 2012 conference was entitled, “13 Days Aboard the Monitors” and delved into the mug shot photo sessions and the hoods worn by the conspirators.   All the information in this post can be found in this terrific booklet and is currently available for purchase through Barry and John and the Surratt House Bookstore.

Through the research of Barry Cauchon and John Elliott we believe that three photograph sessions occurred while the conspirators were imprisoned aboard the monitors Saugus and Montauk.  The first set of images were all taken of a standing Lewis Powell wearing the clothes he was found in and the clothes he was wearing when he attack Secretary Seward.  There were a total of six pictures taken on this day, April 18th.

Carte-de-visites of two of the six photographs taken of Powell on April 18th.

At this point in time, only two of the conspirators were being housed on the monitors; Michael O’Laughlen and Lewis Powell.

Gardner came back to photograph the conspirators on April 25th.  By this point all of the main conspirators except for Booth and Herold had been arrested.  Gardner photographed Powell again, along with Michael O’Laughlen, George Atzerodt, Edman Spangler, Sam Arnold and Hartman Richter.  Richter was a cousin of George Atzerodt’s and was hiding George in his house when the authorities caught up with him.  While Richter would be cleared of any involvement in the conspiracy to kill Lincoln, in these early days of the investigation he was locked up and photographed with the main gang.

One of two O’Laughlen photographs from April 25th

One of two Spangler photographs from April 25th

One of four Powell photographs from April 25th

One of two Arnold photographs from April 25th

One of two Atzerodt photographs from April 25th

One of two Richter photographs from April 25th

Finally, on April 27th, Gardner returned for his last photograph session.  Here he took pictures of the recently captured Davy Herold and another conspirator Joao Celestino.  Celestino was a Portuguese ship captain with an intense hatred for William Seward.  It was thought he was involved with the attempt on the Secretary’s life but was later released as no evidence existed to connect him to Booth’s plan.

One of three Herold photographs from April 27th

One of three Celestino photographs from April 27th

It has also been written that Gardner and his assistant took one photograph of the autopsy of John Wilkes Booth.  The single print of the event was apparently turned over the War Department but has never been found.  If it was taken, it was either destroyed shortly thereafter, or still remains undiscovered somewhere today.

In the wee hours of April 29th, the conspirators on were transferred off of the monitors and into the Old Arsenal Penitentiary.

So, why didn’t Mary Surratt and Dr. Mudd get their pictures taken?  In short, they were not photographed because they weren’t there and their complicity in the affair had yet to be determined.  Though Mary Surratt had been arrested when Powell showed up at her boardinghouse at the most inopportune time, she was not imprisoned on the iron clads.  Instead, she and her household were sent to the Old Capitol Prison merely as questionable suspects.  The same held true for Dr. Mudd who joined others involved in Booth’s escape like Colonel Samuel Cox, Thomas Jones, and Thomas Harbin, at the Old Capitol Prison.  In the initial stages of the investigation, Mary Surratt and Dr. Mudd were not seen as conspirators.  It was not until more and more evidence arose pointing towards their foreknowledge and association with the assassin that they were treated less like witnesses and more like accomplices.

References:
A Peek Inside the Walls – “13 Days Aboard the Monitors” by Barry Cauchon and John Elliott

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