From The Constitution, Wednesday, May 24, 1865 (volume 28, number 1430)
Trial of the Assassins.
The evidence taken before the military court, now in session at Washington, for the trial of the assassins is reported for the press. It conclusively shows that it was premeditated. It had been talked about and planned months before. The statement by Geo. N. Sanders that he was not acquainted with Booth, and had not seen to know him was destroyed by one of the witnesses who testified that he had been the two in conversation in Montreal, Canada. The testimony is strong on the complicity of the Richmond authorities, although conclusive evidence, said to be in the hands of the authorities, has not been given. The plan first proposed, was to capture the President and members of the cabinet and carry them to Richmond. This was abandoned and assassination agreed upon. The most determined and desperate of the characters on trial is acceded to Payne. His antecedents are not known. He is said to be villainous looking, tall and of huge proportions, neck bare with face smoothly shaven. Harrold appears like a harmless and easily led person, one to be made the dupe of designing persons. O’Laughlin is charged with intending the murder of Gen. Grant. It is stated that he resembles Booth, and bears the marks of dissipation. The evidence of the complicity of Atzerodt, who was to assassinate Andrew Johnson, of Samuel Arnold, Mrs. Mary Surratt, and her son John Surratt, is convincing. The part allotted to Dr. Mudd is being brought out, showing him to have knowledge of the whole affair. The plot is a fit sequel to the closing career of rebels and traitors.
Reliable information has been received that the rebel Gen. Forrest was killed at Parkville, Ala., on the 16th by four of his own men, to avenge the death of six of their comrades, ordered shot by Forrest, the day before.
A dispatch from Nashville says it was expected that Jeff. Davis would be sent through that city; but this being deemed injudicious the arch traitor was sent East. He arrived at Macon on Monday, and, with a strong guard, was sent to Augusta. From that point he will be sent to Savannah, where he will take vessel for Fortress Monroe. An officer of Johnston’s army, who has arrived at Nashville, says that Davis gave up nearly all his specie as payment for services of officers and men of his own escort.
The Review of the Army.—The grand review of our armies has been ordered to take place on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week at Washington. As the veterans march through the streets of that city, on this their last review for the war, they can look back with pride and satisfaction upon the record of their noble exploits during the past four years. Through every southern state they have borne in triumph our honored flag, and won an imperishable name in American history.
At Home.–Col. F. E. Camp of the 29th colored U. S. regiment, arrived in this city last week on furlough. He has been commissioned by his regiment to procure instruments for a regimental band. He appears in good health, and is none the worse for having assisted in the pursuit and capture of Gen. Lee and the rebel army. We acknowledge, through him, the receipt of late Richmond papers.
Town and City.—The adj. town meeting on Saturday afternoon reconsidered the vote passed at a former meeting, appropriating $1,060 to defray expenses of petitioning the Legislature in favor of the N. Y. and Boston Railroad (Air Line.) The whole subject was postponed three weeks, to which time the special meeting was adj.; when it is hoped that a full attendance of the residents of the town may be had. At the city meeting in the evening, the laying out for public highways, Cherry street, Center street, and Bailey avenue, were ordered.
Fair.—The ladies of Zion’s A. M. E. Church of this city, will hold a fair and festival at McDonough Hall, on Wednesday afternoon and evening, the 24th inst. Proceeds to be applied for the benefit of the society.
A New Enterprise—Omnibus Line.—J. A. Turner, of the late firm of J. & J. A. Turner, in this city, and now of the “Swathel House,” in Durham, has engaged in an enterprise deserving the support of our merchants and citizens, being a daily omnibus line through the city. It is also an accommodation to the residence of the town of Durham and Cromwell, leaving the former place at 6-15, a. m., and returning at 6-15, p. m. It starts from Pameacha Bridge at 7-30, a. m., and arrives at the Railroad Depot upon the departure and arrival of each train, returning again to Pameacha Bridge. Twice a day, both morning and afternoon, it runs to Cromwell, stopping at the Post Office. For time table, see advt. The residents of these towns will find it decidedly a ‘public institution,’ and should give a liberal support. Commutation tickets will be furnished on liberal terms.
The Long Island Route.—The steamer Sunshine will commence running on the Long Island Route on Thursday of this week. The popular commander Capt. Bates will be found at his post, and as attentive as ever to the wants of the traveling public. The “Sunshine” is a new boat, in complete order, commodious and always “on time,” besides running on one of the most pleasant routes in New England.
Andrew Knowles, who shot J. C. Eggleston of Guilford, it is supposed passed through St. Albans, a few days since, on his way to Canada.
The River, owing to the late heavy rains, has been at high water mark, submerging all the low wharves, and suspending business operations general along the river.
Gardening.—The late rains have retarded the usual spring work in gardens. We hear complaints now and then from those who had hopes of enjoying an early dish of peas or nice potatoes, that nothing had as yet appeared above ground. We offer them our condolence, and can say that we are in the same carriage. But we can enjoy a good sight even if it is that of looking at a neighbor’s garden, and see vegetables of all kinds growing must luxuriantly, and to our disappointed friends, if they are of even temper, we would mention the garden of C. F. Collins, as one well worth admiring at this season of the year. It is neither a hot house or hot bed, but a well kept common garden, which exceeds in forwardness anything which we have yet seen.
For the Constitution.
A Visit to Washington.
Interview with President Johnson and General Grant—Impression produced by them—Booth’s capture—End of the Rebellion.
Friend Constitution: A trip to Washington is by no means a rare thing now-a-days nor to judge from appearances is it likely to be for some time to come, and we cannot therefore claim for ourselves anything of extraordinary merit from the fact that we have but just returned from a short sojourn in that city; nor would it probably interest your readers to hear for the forty-second time a rehearsal of “First Impressions of Washington, Beautiful City, etc., etc.,” but it might interest them to hear something about those men who are figuring so extensively in the history of our country, from the pen of one, whom unusual advantages perhaps, have to a certain extent qualified, to speak of. I will therefore as briefly as possible give you a short account of an interview it was my pleasure to enjoy with our chief Magistrate. The day immediately succeeding my arrival in the capital, I was asked if I would like to be introduced to President Johnson in company with a few ladies and gentlemen who were to have that honor. I eagerly accepted the invitation and at an early hour on Saturday morning, led by Thurlow Weed, and Capt. Percival Drayton, U. S. N., we left “Willards,” en route, for the residence of Mr. Hooper, the present abode of the President. The house is a very handsome light brown stone building, large and well built and surrounded entirely by a strong guard from the Veteran Reserve Corps. Ringing the bell we were immediately confronted by two soldiers, who, upon statement of our intention and the discovery of no alarming or suspicious appearances admitted us into the house where we were severally introduced to Hon. Preston King, the great friend of the President. We were by him ushered into a large parlor where we were informed the President would soon be present, he being at that time busy with a gentleman. After a short detention which gave us the chance to become mutually acquainted in our party, the doors were thrown open and Andrew Johnson quietly stepped into the room. He bowed courteously around and welcomed us, after which he was introduced to each in turn by Mr. Prince of Albany. The President spoke a few words as he shook hands, passing quietly on to the next. As he passed from one to the other he would cast his eyes down upon the floor raising them suddenly to your face as he confronted you.
In appearance he is of medium height, strongly-built, and with a large and well-developed head. His eyes are not very large, but sharp and piercing. He is very dignified in his manner, speaks in a low tone and seems to deeply feel the responsibilities of his position. His whole appearance is such as to inspire unqualified confidence and Abraham Lincoln leaves no unworthy successor in Andrew Johnson. Stepping into the next room at his invitation we saw on the table, a very handsome china locomotive and tender, which the President said was a coffee-pot presented to Jefferson Davis by Messrs. Mason and Slidell, and sold by him at auction, previous to his hasty flight from Richmond. It was given to President Johnson by the buyer. A music box is located within the tender, which plays while the coffee boils, which latter fact is announced by the blowing of a whistle located on the locomotive, when the music ceases. After spending about half an hour thus agreeably we took leave of the President, all well satisfied despite the croakings of northern rebels and copperheads, that Andrew Johnson is a firm, conscientious and honest man, and will prove too much of a man for them, we hope.
Returning to “Willards” after a short rest a portion of us started out again to visit that beautiful structure, the Capitol. Of the magnificence of that building one who has not seen it has no idea. It is really the handsomest building I have ever seen. I have visited the Tuilleries, Louvre, Fontainebleau and St. Germain in France; the Ducal and Grand Ducal Palaces of Germany; the Kings Palace in Brussells; the Emperor’s in Austria; and the Kings in Berlin, but of real noble grandeur and magnificence I had no idea until I visited the Capitol of the United States. Old England herself can boast of no finer structure and on its completion we may almost challenge the world to equal it. There is nothing gaudy about it, nor do gold and silver promiscuously scattered, shock the taste. The gardens are finely laid out and well taken care of.
On returning to the Hotel, I perceived a short, broad-shouldered, plain-looking, little man in civilian’s dress, standing in the center of a group of officers, smoking a cigar, and taking part in the conversation. This was Maj.-Gen. Phil. Sheridan, the gallant and dashing cavalry officer, and staff. Contrary to his pictures he has only a moustache and imperial. It was impossible to believe that the little man before me was one of that gallant trio, whose names are in every mouth and praises on every tongue. But he it was, and the conclusion was forced upon us that “truth is stranger than fiction.” The next day in walking around I passed by the residence of Secretaries Seward, Stanton and McCulloch. I also, in company with others visited as much as was possible of Ford’s Theatre, the scene of the tragedy of the 14th of April. All the above mentioned residences are strongly guarded both in front and rear. Secretary Seward is much better and rides out every day. He is hardly recognizable, however, and his face swollen as it is resembles a large pumpkin as much as anything. He talks quite freely, however, and suffers but little pain. His son is but very slowly improving and great fears are still entertained for his safety. No one is allowed to enter ‘Ford’s Theatre’ though we went all around it. I saw the small door at the back of the stage where Booth made his hasty exit, also the stable where he kept his horse and the place where his horse stood. A guard prevents anyone from approaching within a rod of the door.
On returning to the Hotel I was introduced to Capt. Dougherty, the leader of the small party that tracked out and captured Booth. He is a very handsome and intelligent young man, and gave me a very interesting account of the capture of Booth, even down to the minutest details. It was very interesting and may be worth communicating at another time. But to me the pleasantest feature of my visit to Washington was the interview enjoyed with General Grant, with which I will close this already lengthy communication. On Tuesday morning I was sitting in the parlor of the Hotel with two or three young ladies and Mr. Brady, the eminent photographer. Happening to glance at the door, I noticed a military looking man appear, and then turn away again, pretty soon he returned and took a step into the parlor when Mr. Brady, then for the first time perceiving him, jumped up exclaiming: “Why, Gen. Grant, how do you do?” “Why,” said the General, “are you here; I looked in a moment ago, and did not see anybody I knew.” The General walked into the parlor and after being introduced to us, gave a hearty shake of the hand and took his seat upon the sofa. Of course, we deemed ourselves the most lucky of mortals, in being admitted to the privilege of an interview with the capturer of armies, and the greatest General of the age. In appearance the General is far from looking the mighty man that he is. His pictures are for the most part very accurate. His forehead is large, and his eyes deep set, but his head inclines forward so much as to give him the appearance of stooping. He is broad-shouldered, and says he has gained ten pounds within the last six months. His appearance is prepossessing, but plain and unassuming. He speaks slowly and distinctly, and will suffer his eyes to wander around until the last few words when he looks straight at you. He is very pleasant and courteous, yet dignified. He talked very freely and seemed very willing to answer all questions, which fact, however, we must attribute to the presence of the ladies, as he is usually rather inclined to taciturnity. He said in the course of the conversation that his oldest boy had been in five battles and the siege of Vicksburgh, before he was fourteen. He spoke a great deal about his children, and is evidently an affectionate and indulgent father. He takes great pride in his horses, of which he has eight. Two of them, “Cincinnati” and “Egypt” he considers almost matchless.—He intends sending the former to N. Y., and said that he thought he would made a stir in the Central Park. The General said that he intended going to New York himself the next month. He said that he considered Jeff Davis’ chance of escape very slim indeed. He talked with us for about half an hour and then left. We were all very favorably impressed with him, and only regretted the shortness of time at his disposal. But it is on horseback that he is seen to best advantage, for he is a magnificent horseman.
While sitting in front of the Hotel, two fellows passed by who were pointed out as the Garrett boys, notorious in connection with Booth. They were on parole. In the patent office I noticed what I have never seen any mention made of before, viz, a patent by Abraham Lincoln, for a machine to raise boats over shallow water.
H. W. R.