"In the years since that period, when war hatred burned and calmness of judgment was swept away in the national grief and rage over the killing of a beloved leader, it has become apparent that one of the four who were hanged was probably innocent. That person was Mary Elizabeth Surratt, a 45-year-old widow of a Maryland county 'squire' and keeper of the Washington boardinghouse in which John Wilkes Booth and company perfected their crime...The author proceeds on the premise that her heroine was a victim of judicial murder; that she was completely innocent and that her persecutors, chief of whom was Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, were fully aware of it. The military tribunal that sentenced Mrs. Surratt later petitioned President Johnson to commute her sentence, but the Judge Advocate, acting on Stanton's orders, kept the document from Johnson until after the execution. It was reported years later, that a day before his death - which rumor claimed was a suicide - Stanton murmured to a friend: 'That Surratt woman haunts me.'"
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