The Trial of Lewis Thornton Powell (Book Three)

BOOK 3 in the 150th Anniversary Series of the Lincoln Assassination: Reporters are denied access to Lewis Thornton Powell, one of the conspirators in the Lincoln Assassination while held captive on the USS Montauk with David Herold in the same down-below chambers of the vessel. Reporters are held at bay, but not so for Alexander Gardner, a favorite photographer of the government in Washington City at the time.
On April 27th, Gardner is busy taking photographs of those who had been arrested in the government’s dragnet. Say one derogatory word against the government or talk bad about Lincoln, and one could land in the slammer with three hundred others.
Each of the prisoners are brought on deck and photographed in a few different positions. When the dust clears, far more photographs are taken of Lewis Thornton Powell than anyone else. Powell was a camera hound and gave his time to the celebrated photographer. Powell cooperated with Gardner’s requests and posed sitting down, standing, with and without restraints, and modeling the overcoat and hat he wore the night of the Secretary of State Seward’s attacks. The one used in most discussions is where he stands against the gun turret of the USS Saugus, staring right at the camera, relaxing with a calm demeanor.
Powell is shackled with a form of manacles known as “lily irons”, riveted handcuffs with two separate iron bands on each of his wrists preventing him the ability to bend his wrist or use either of his hands. Like most of the male prisoners on board, he drug around with him a heavy iron ball at the end of a six foot long chain manacled to one of his legs.
In The Lincoln Assassination – The Trial of Lewis Thornton Powell, a military tribunal, rather than a civilian court, is chosen as the prosecutorial venue. The government officials at the time think the Commission might be more lenient in regards to the evidence allowing the court to get to the bottom of what they perceive as a vast conspiracy.
Conviction requires a simple majority of the judges, while imposition of the death sentence requires a two –thirds majority. The only appeal available to the prisoners is to go directly to the President of the United States.
From all indication, enough preliminary witnesses have placed Powell in the same room with Secretary of State Seward. Finding legal counsel is difficult, and after three days waiting, Powell is finally able to locate representation for the trial that begins on May 12, 1865. William E. Doster takes over representation for the defense of Lewis Powell. Doster was a graduate of Yale and Harvard. He was the former provost marshal for the District of Columbia.
William Doster for the Defense opened his case on June 21st, 1865 for Lewis Thornton Powell. The weight of the evidence against Powell is so overwhelming, the Defense, instead of trying to disprove his guilt, characterizes Powell’s actions as those of a soldier who aimed at the Secretary of State instead of the lesser corps of the Union.
This court case in its entirety for Lewis Thornton Powell is brought to paper for the reader to determine from the evidence and the testimony of witnesses rather or not Lewis Powell should be hanged or be turned free.
In an effort to demonstrate a full testimony, repetitive witnesses might bog down the reader at times, but, on the other hand, will give insight to how many different witnesses testified to the same events.