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  The Life, Crime and Capture of John Wilkes Booth George Alfred Townsend

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As everything connected with this expiation will be greedily read I compile from gossip and report a statement of the last intramural hours of the prisoners.

During the morning a female friend of Atzerott, from Port Tobacco, had an interview with him--she leaving him about eleven o'clock. He made the following statement:

He took a room at the Kirkwood House on Thursday, in order to get a pass from Vice-President Johnson to go to Richmond. Booth was to lease the Richmond theater and the President was to be invited to attend it when visiting Richmond, and captured there. Harold brought the pistol and knife to the room about half-past two o'clock on Friday. He (Atzerott) said he would have nothing to do with the murder of Johnson, when Booth said that Harold had more courage than Atzerott, and he wanted Atzerott to be with Harold to urge him to do it. There was a meeting at a restaurant about the middle of March, at which John Surratt, O'Laughlin, Booth, Arnold, Payne, Harold and himself were present, when a plan to capture the President was discussed. They had heard the President was to visit a camp, and they proposed to capture him, coach and all, drive through long old fields to "T. B.," where the coach was to be left and fresh horses were to be got, and the party would proceed to the river to take a boat. Harold took a buggy to "T. B." in anticipation that Mr. Lincoln would be captured, and he was to go with the party to the river. Slavery had put him on the side of the South. He had heard it preached in church that the curse of God was upon the slaves, for they were turned black. He always hated the nigger and felt that they should be kept in ignorance. He had not received any money from Booth, although he had been promised that if they were successful they should never want, that they would be honored throughout the South, and that they could secure an exchange of prisoners and the recognition of the confederacy.

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Harold slept well several hours, but most of the night he was sitting up, either engaged with his pastor, Rev. Mr. Olds, of Christ Church, or in prayer. His sisters were with him from an early hour this morning to twelve o'clock; they being present when he partook of the sacrament at the hands of Dr. Olds. The parting was particularly affecting. Harold conversed freely with them, and expressed himself prepared to die.

Powell conversed with Dr. Gillette and Dr. Striker on religious topics during the morning, sitting erect, as he did in the court-room. From his conversation it appears that he was raised religiously, and belonged to the Baptist church until after the breaking out of the rebellion. He appeared to be sincerely repentant, and in his cell shed tears freely. He gave his advisers several commissions of a private character, and stated that he was willing to meet his God, asking all men to forgive, and forgiving all who had done aught against him. Colonel Doster, his counsel, also took leave of him during the morning, as well as with Atzerott.

Mrs. Surratt's daughter was with her at an early hour. One of her male friends also had an interview with her, and received directions concerning the disposition of her property. During the night and morning she received the ministrations of Revs. J. A. Walter and B. F. Wigett, and conversed freely with them, expressing, while protesting her innocence, her willingness to meet her God. Her counsel, Messrs. Aiken & Clampitt, took leave of her during the morning.

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The Life, Crime and Capture of John Wilkes Booth
George Alfred Townsend

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