"Conspiracy: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln"

Updated: Apr 15, 2021


By Wendy Swanson

Washington D.C.

Friday, April 2, 2021


April 13 presentation to DC Civil War Round Table (more information is available at https://www.cwrtdc.org/)


The DC Civil War Round Table has scheduled a talk on the Lincoln conspirators, an appropriate topic for its April meeting, the month which marks the anniversary of the Lincoln assassination.


The usual focus of the assassination story is on John Wilkes Booth, the prominent actor who shot the president. This program instead will focus on those who conspired with Booth. Original plans to kidnap Lincoln and take him to Richmond failed. When Richmond fell, the conspirators’ goal turned to assassination.


Speaker Gail Stephens will discuss the conspirators and their participation in this drama, their trial and its outcome. Her particular focus will be on the roles of Mary Surratt (pictured above), the only woman involved, and Samuel Mudd, a country doctor who has a prominent role in the story.


Gail Stephens has a Bachelor’s Degree in International Politics from George Washington University and completed graduate work at Johns Hopkins and Harvard Universities. She worked for the Department of Defense for 26 years, retiring in 1994 as a member of the Department’s Senior Executive Service. Upon retirement, she was able to indulge her lifelong interest in the history of the American Civil War. She volunteered at Monocacy National Battlefield for over fifteen years, lectured on the Civil War and the battle of Monocacy, gave battlefield tours, and wrote articles for numerous publications. Her book on the Union commander at the battle of Monocacy, Shadow of Shiloh; Major General Lew Wallace in the Civil War, was published in 2010. In 2011, it won the New York City Civil War Forum’s William Henry Seward award for best Civil War biography.


Gail and her husband moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2016. She is currently a volunteer at Coronado Historic Site and has written a soon-to-be published monograph on the excavation of an ancient pueblo and the recovery of the 15th century murals found in the pueblo.


This program will be via Zoom, with a social hour at 6 p.m.. business meeting at 6:30 p.m. and program at 6:45 p.m. Additional information is available at https://www.cwrtdc.org/