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Rare view of General who hung Lincoln's Killers (Medal of Honor)
Rare view of General who hung Lincoln's killers.
John Frederick Hartranft (December 16, 1830 October 17, 1889) was the 17th Governor of Pennsylvania from 1873 to 1879 and a Union Major General who received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the American Civil War.

At the war's end, Hartranft commanded the Old Capitol Prison and was appointed a special provost marshal during the trial of those accused in the Lincoln assassination.
He was noted for his kind treatment toward Mary Surratt, the first woman executed by the Federal government. On July 7, 1865, Hartranft led Mary Surratt, Lewis Paine, David Herold and George Atzerodt to the gallows in what is now called Fort Lesley McNair. He read them their last rites, and they were hanged.

Cabinet Card view in full uniform, wearing an array of medals on his chest. Photo taken by Pollock of Boston, Mass.

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Medal of Honor citation:

Rank and organization: Colonel, 4th Pennsylvania Militia. Place and date: At Bull Run, Va., July 21, 1861. Entered service at: Norristown, Pa. Born: December 16, 1830, New Hanover Township, Montgomery County, Pa. Date of issue: August 26, 1886.

Hartranft, John F., brigadier-general, was born in New Hanover, Montgomery county, Pa., Dec. 16, 1830. He was educated at Marshall and Union colleges, graduating at Union in 1853, studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1859, and practiced in Norristown, Pa. In April, 1861, he recruited the 4th Penn. volunteers, was elected its colonel, and subsequently commanded it until its term of enlistment expired, the day before the battle of Bull Run. As his regiment had been ordered to Harrisburg, he volunteered and obtained leave to serve on the staff of Gen. William B. Franklin in that battle. He then organized the 51st Penn. regiment, was commissioned its colonel, July 27, 1861, and accompanied it in Burnside's expedition to North Carolina in the following spring, when he led the attack on Roanoke island and participated in the battle of New Berne. Following this he served in the Army of the Potomac in the battles of second Bull Run and Chantilly, was in the 9th corps at the battle of South mountain, led the charge at the stone bridge at Antietam and commanded his regiment at Fredericksburg, and then, being ordered to Tennessee, was engaged in the battle of Campbell's station and in the successful defence of Knoxville. At Vicksburg he commanded a brigade engaged in protecting the besieging troops from an attack in the rear, and, after the fall of that place he accompanied Sherman in his advance to Jackson, Miss. He commanded a brigade in the battles of the Wilderness and Spottsylvania, received his commission as brigadier-general May 12, 1864, took part in all the movements before Petersburg, was subsequently given command of a division, and on March 25, 1865, was brevetted major-general of volunteers for conspicuous gallantry in the recapture of Fort Stedman. Gen. Hartranft then returned to Pennsylvania, was elected auditor-general of the state, and declined a commission offered him by the president as colonel in the regular establishment, Aug. 29, 1866. He was reelected auditor-general in 1868, and was from 1873 to 1879 governor of Pennsylvania. During his term of office the militia of Pennsylvania was entirely reorganized on a military basis, and from 1879 to 1889 he was in command of the national guard as major-general of militia. Gen. Hartranft was postmaster of Philadelphia under appointment by President Hayes 1879-80, and in Aug., 1880, became collector of the port of Philadelphia. He died in Norristown Pa., Oct. 17, 1889, and after his death an equestrian statue was erected to his memory in front of the capitol building, Harrisburg.

Source: The Union Army, vol. 8