Last night I watched a movie about the aftermath of the assassination of one of my favorite presidents Abe Lincoln. This movie was the story of a man named named Fredrick Aiken. He was the man who ended up having to defend Mary Surratt, the only woman charged in the death of President Lincoln. She had a trial before a military commission which made no sense since she was not in the military. She is found guilty and hanged with three other people charged in killing Lincoln. This story ended up confusing me.
First off, there was no proof to prove if she was innocent or guilty. Of course, they convict her of planning the death of the president. According to the movie she had no clue what Booth and his deranged friends were up to. I honestly think she is guilty of some charges and innocent of others. It is possible for someone to be innocent and guilty at the same time. Secondly, some characters just left the movie and viewers have no clue what happened to them. This was the case for me with the character Sarah Aiken, Fredrick's wife. She leaves him standing on a sidewalk and she never comes back into the story. At first I thought maybe they divorced, but, being the historian I am, I looked her up. She stayed married to Fredrick and she died in 1900. The guy who gave the case to Aiken was also in and out of the story.
Another thing that bugged me was the way everyone treated Fredrick badly for doing his job. They made him defend Mary and everyone hates him for doing his job. That is just not right. This movie also made the Secretary of War Edwin Stanton seem like a bad guy. In a way he was, he would not allow Fredrick to do anything that would help defend her. If that was the case, why did they have her on trial in the first place? Sometimes, history is messed up.
Cool fact: They filmed the movie in Savannah, Ga. How I figured that out was that I recognized the fort. The name of the fort was Fort Pulaski, my family visited the Fort when we went to Savannah for a day. It was so cool! I remembered the big open space in the fort and some other stuff. Many of the scenes in the movie took place in the fort.