Samuel Arnold (conspirator)

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Samuel Bland Arnold
Samuel Arnold - Lincoln conspirator - LoC Civil War.jpg
Samuel Arnold after his arrest, 1865
Born (1834-09-06)September 6, 1834
Georgetown, Washington, D.C., U.S.
Died September 21, 1906(1906-09-21) (aged 72)

Samuel Bland Arnold (September 6, 1834 – September 21, 1906)[1] was involved in the plot to kidnap U.S. President Abraham Lincoln in 1865.

He and the other conspirators, John Wilkes Booth, David Herold, Lewis Powell, Michael O'Laughlen, and John Surratt, were to kidnap Lincoln and hold him to exchange for the Confederate prisoners in Washington D.C.. This was attempted twice, but failed, because Lincoln was not where they thought he would be.

Arnold and O'Laughlen dropped out of the conspiracy when the prisoner-exchange program started.

After Booth's April 14, 1865 assassination of Lincoln, Arnold was arrested on suspicion of complicity. He was actually relieved when he was arrested. During the trial, one of the chief witnesses was Louis J. Weichmann, a boarder at Mary Surratt's (John Surratt's mother).

Arnold was sentenced to life in prison at Fort Jefferson, along with Samuel Mudd, Michael O'Laughlen, and Edmund Spangler. In 1869 Arnold, Mudd, and Spangler were released after being pardoned by President Andrew Johnson (O'Laughlen had died in prison in 1867).

After Samuel Arnold returned home, he lived quietly out of the public eye for more than thirty years. In 1898 he returned to Fort Jefferson and took photographs of his old prison, but the photographs have not survived. In 1902 Arnold wrote a series of newspaper articles for the Baltimore American describing his imprisonment at Fort Jefferson.

Arnold died four years later on September 21, 1906.[2] He is buried at Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland. The only conspirator who survived him was John Surratt.


  1. ^ Booth, p. 138
  2. ^ Johnson, Scott Patrick (2011). Trials of the Century: An Encyclopedia of Popular Culture and the Law. ABC-CLIO. p. 98. ISBN 978-1-59884-261-6. 


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