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Author Topic: Ned Spangler  (Read 3700 times)
Gene C
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« on: July 16, 2012, 10:57:41 AM »

What was the evidence or testimony that convicted Ned Spangler?
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Randal
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« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2012, 11:12:47 AM »

For complicity in the assassination. Charged with aiding and abetting Booth's escape from Ford's.
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Gene C
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« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2012, 02:40:22 PM »

who gave the most damaging testiomony, and roughly what was it?
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« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2012, 02:47:07 PM »

Without a doubt, Jacob Ritterspaughs testimony on May 19th, at the trial. Also the prosecution alleged Spangler made a hole in the wall in the antechamber, so to hold a dowell which JWB could use to secure the door in the box.
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jonathan
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« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2012, 09:14:28 AM »

As I have just this morning finished re-reading American Brutus, I'll throw this in, from page 390 of the paperback…

"Many years later, a Boston newspaper inadvertently revealed the true source of Spangler's difficulty. It published an interview with Harry Hawk, the actor who was on stage when Booth fired the shot. Dazed and shaken, Hawk had frozen up in fear when the crowd pressed in on him. Someone demanded to know who had shot the president, and Hawk blurted out, 'I won't tell. There'll be a terrible uproar, and I want to keep out of any trouble.' Jake Rittersback heard those words, but in the confusion of the moment, he attributed them to his fellow stagehand. He repeated them to authorities, and Ned Spangler became a suspect in the conspiracy."

This, combined with the fact that the government seemed positive that someone at the theater had to be involved, doomed Spangler.

I also found this interesting, from page 367 of AB…

"After hearing the defense arguments, Lew Wallace wrote his wife, 'I have passed a few words with my associate members, and think we can agree in a couple of hours at farthest. Three, if not four, of the eight will be acquitted--that is, if we voted today.' But they did not vote that day, and the prosecution still had a few more cards to play.

There are a few paragraphs of explanation following this, but I found it interesting that the defendants, or at least some of them, did have a chance at least to avoid prison. Further evidence of that on page 396…

"Shortly after Dr. Mudd went off to prison, General David Hunter summed up his case this way: 'The Court never believed that Dr. Mudd knew anything about Booth's designs. Booth made him a tool as he had done with others. Dr. Mudd was the victim of his own timidity. Had he acknowledged to the soldiers who he saw in search of Booth (the day after the assassination) that Booth had got his leg set at his house and went off, and had he, like a man, come out and said he knew Booth, instead of flatly denying it to the Court, he would have had little trouble.'"

Apparently the emphasis on "like a man" is from Hunter himself, as Kauffman doesn't claim it's his.
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« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2012, 09:26:21 AM »

     The Hawk story sounds plausible, but I wonder about Ritterspaugh's statement that Spangler slapped him and said "Don't say which way he went".
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jonathan
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« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2012, 09:31:12 AM »

Yeah, I wondered about that too. So many possibilities come to mind. Maybe he just didn't like Ned. Maybe Ned slept with his wife and he had a chance to get back at him. Maybe they were both up for some theater promotion and he wanted Ned out of the way. I suppose we'll likely never know.
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John Watson
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« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2012, 05:16:35 PM »

The fact is, there was no real evidence linking Spangler to either the assassination or the proposed kidnapping of Lincoln.  He was guilty only of a slap and a curse - and being a friend of John Wilkes Booth.  The government’s case against him rested solely on the testimony of Joseph “Peanuts” Burroughs and Jake Ritterspaugh.  Burroughs testified that when he and Spangler were removing the partition from the President’s box, Spangler cursed Lincoln, and when asked why he was damning a man who never had done him any harm, he quoted Spangler as saying, “He ought to be cursed for getting so many men killed” in the war.  Then, scene-shifter Ritterspaugh testified that after Booth fled the theater, he began telling people the man was Booth, at which time Spangler slapped him in the face and said,  “Hush up, you don’t know it was Booth, you don’t know anything about it.”  That’s the whole case!  The fact that Booth specifically asked for Spangler to hold his horse, and that Spangler managed Booth’s stable behind the theater, and that he often did favors for Booth was mere fluff, proof of nothing more than familiarity between the two men.  Why, then, did the Commission convict him?  I believe the Commission's thinking was clouded by the disbelief that Booth could so easily enter the theater and make his way into Lincoln’s box, jam the entry door with a preconcealed wooden bar from a music stand, kill the President and wound Maj. Rathbone, and then jump onto the stage and pass numerous theater personnel and stacks of scenery, without impediment or challenge, to an unlocked exit door and make his escape into the night – all without the cooperation of at least one accomplice in the theater company.  Unfortunately for Spangler, he fit the bill, he looked the part . . . and he was available.
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saxpower
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« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2012, 09:16:04 PM »

To put it simply, I think the commission figured SOMEONE at the theatre had to be part of it, and Spangler- perhaps less educated and with fewer "Connections" to help him avoid trouble than other people there, was the easiest target
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Crowza
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« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2012, 07:21:01 PM »

AFAIK, Ned wrote papers on the assassination that were found in his trunk after he passed away. Does anyone know if these papers he wrote are available anywhere on the Internet or in a book?
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Randal
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« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2012, 09:36:03 AM »

The statement was published in "The Life of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd" by Nettie Mudd, pg. 322

I haven't looked to see if it's in the "Evidence" book by William Edwards, might be!

Hope this helps.
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John Watson
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« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2012, 04:23:38 PM »

It seems Ned Spangler was a prolific letter writer.  Several of his letters from prison have been published of which this is likely the earliest.  Dated September 15, 1865, from Fort Jefferson, it was directed to an unknown correspondent who passed it along to the Baltimore Commercial Bulletin, where it was picked up by the Washington Evening Star and published on page 4 of its October 11, 1865, edition.



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Bronte
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« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2012, 05:56:50 PM »

How very sad and unfair his life was ruined without any real proof that he was involved.I couldn't help but get emotional when he asked for the hooks and a little money to buy some postage stamps.I can honestly say that I believe he was not involved with the assassination of Lincoln.However when it comes to Dr. Mudd and Mary Surrratt I'm not so sure I believe in their innocence.I feel strongly that Mary Surratt was in it up to her eyeballs.She knew what was going to happen that evening and she went along with Booth's nonsense because he probably had almost charmed her knickers off of her by then.Then we have the good country doctor who was such a pillar of the community but he was also from what I've read a total racist and he did not want to see the black man free.So he agreed to help Booth save the south.I find it laughable that a man with his intelligence would fall under Booth's spell and pretty much ruin his life and reputation and for what? absolutely nothing. Roll Eyes
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Randal
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« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2012, 06:07:34 PM »

Great Post Judy!
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rich smyth
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« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2012, 06:53:32 PM »

Hi Tom. Are you saying his original statement from 1867 is in the Butler papers? If so, what happened to the statement found in the toolbox? Did it survive?
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