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York CWRT to discuss the “Lincoln Conspirators” on April 19

Mark Grim and John F. Hartranft (submitted)

On April 19, 2017, please join the York Civil War Round Table in its 20th Anniversary Year, welcoming historical reenactor and lecturer Mark D. Grim, Jr. to our meeting for his presentation on the “Imprisonment, Trial and Execution of the Lincoln Conspirators.” The monthly meeting is at 7 p.m. at the Historical Society Museum, Library and Archives, 250 E. Market Street in York. Admission and parking are both free, and the meeting is open to the public.

The program is an overview of the imprisonment, trial and execution of the Lincoln conspirators following the assassination of President Lincoln in April 1865. It is seen through the perspective of Brevet Major General John F. Hartranft, USV, in his capacity as Military Governor of the Washington Arsenal Penitentiary where the conspirators were confined and Special Provost Marshal for the trial of the conspirators and their execution in July 1865.

John F. Hartranft, a native of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, graduated from Union College in 1853 and was admitted to the Montgomery County Bar in 1860. In April 1861, he took command of the 4th P.V.I.( a 90-day unit) that refused to fight at the First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas) on July 21, 1861, their 90-days having expired. Hartranft remained and participated in the battle as a volunteer aide in Colonel Franklin’s brigade. In 1886, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his valiant conduct during the battle. In September 1861, he took command of the 51st P.V.I. (a 3-year unit) which participated in numerous battles with the Ninth Army Corps in both the Eastern and Western Theaters including Burnside’s Expedition (North Carolina), Second Bull Run, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredricksburg, Vicksburg, Knoxville, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor and Petersburg (Crater and Fort Stedman). In May 1864, he was promoted to brigadier general and in March 1865 he was brevetted a major general by General Grant.

In late April 1865, he was appointed Special Provost Marshal and Commander of Troops at the Old Military Prison, Washington, D.C., by President Johnson. In this capacity, he oversaw the imprisonment of all eight individuals charged in the Lincoln assassination conspiracy trial and on July 7, 1865, he oversaw the hanging of four of them. From 1866-1872, he served as Pennsylvania State Auditor General and from 1873-1879, he served as Governor of Pennsylvania during which time he organized the Pennsylvania National Guard. Hartranft died in October 1889 at the age of 58.

Mark D. Grim, Jr., of Biglerville, Pennsylvania, is a retired Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps, with over 25 years of service and also a retired Pennsylvania attorney. He is a graduate of Ursinus College, Widener University School of Law, U.S. Marine Corps Command & Staff College and the U.S. Army War College. He is descended from a Civil War veteran, his Great Uncle, Corporal Andrew J. Grim, who served in Company C, 51st P.V.I., from September 1861- May 1864 when he was wounded (second time) at Spotsylvania Courthouse. On June 6, 1864, he died as a result of those wounds. He is also a member of the Gettysburg Civil War Round Table, Adams County Historical Society and the Confederation of Union Generals. Mark Grim can be contacted through this web site at