Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Gardner, Alexander (1821-1882) [Albumen of Michael O'Laughlin]

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also request a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC07738.09 Author/Creator: Gardner, Alexander (1821-1882) Place Written: Washington, D.C. Type: Photograph Date: 27 April 1865 Pagination: 1 albumen ; 31 x 26 cm.

Summary of Content: Inscribed on verso: : Michael O'Laughlin Conspirator. Imprisoned for life. Died of yellow fever Sept. 23, 1867 at 7 a.m." Photograph shows O'Laughlin in wrist irons, wearing a dark jacket, vest, tie, and hat. He is facing right and is imprisoned aboard the U.S.S. Saugus.

Background Information: When President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, O'Laughlin was living in Baltimore. On 17th April, 1865 O'Laughlin gave himself up to the police. He confessed to his role in the plan to ...kidnap Lincoln but denied any involvement in the conspiracy to murder the president.
During his trial the prosecution claimed that O'Laughlin had been given the task of killing General Ulysses S. Grant. However, O'Laughlin's lawyer, Walter S. Scott, was able to show that his client was drinking with friends on the night of the murder and had made no attempt to seek out Grant.
On 29th June O'Laughlin was found guilty of being involved in the conspiracy to murder Lincoln and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, George Atzerodt and David Herold were also found guilty of the crime and hanged at Washington Penitentiary on 7th July, 1865.
O'Laughlin was sent to Fort Jefferson with fellow conspirators Samuel Mudd, Edman Spangler and Samuel Arnold. Michael O'Laughlin died of yellow fever on 19th September, 1867.



See More

People: Gardner, Alexander, 1821-1882
O'Laughlin, Michael, d. 1867
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865

Historical Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877

Subjects: Lincoln AssassinationAssassinationsPrisonerYellow FeverEpidemicHealth and MedicalDeath

Sub Era: The American Civil War

Order a Copy Citation Guidelines for Online Resources