Assassination!: The Brick Chronicle of Attempts on the Lives of Twelve US Presidents (7 page)

BOOK: Assassination!: The Brick Chronicle of Attempts on the Lives of Twelve US Presidents
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He then lunged toward the helpless Seward, raising his knife over his head, and bringing it mightily down several times, attempting a death blow.

Seward was stabbed repeatedly in the neck and face before Robinson could jump on his back, preventing further attack on the elder Seward. Meanwhile, Fanny’s continuous shrieks woke others in the house.

Another of Seward’s sons joined Robinson in wrestling Powell out into the hallway. Powell stabbed Robinson twice deeply in the shoulder as Fanny and Seward’s now awakened wife looked on in confusion and horror.

Finally, Powell struggled free and fled the house, shouting, “I’m mad! I’m mad!” Crossing paths with a State Department messenger who had just arrived at the house, Powell stabbed him in the back as he attempted to flee.

Powell mounted his horse and rode away, but he did not know his way around Washington, DC, without Herold as his guide and wound up spending the night in a cemetery.

Just after 10 PM, Booth’s fourth accomplice, the carriage repairman George Atzerodt, was at the bar of the Kirkwood Hotel where both he and Vice President Andrew Johnson were staying. Atzerodt was attempting to work up the nerve to carry out his attack.

Johnson had already retired for the night, and alone in his hotel room with no guard, he was the easiest of the targets in Booth’s plot.

But Atzerodt could not bring himself to do it, and he left the hotel to wander the streets of Washington for the next few hours.

Of the four conspirators, only Booth and David Herold made it to the planned rendezvous point outside the city. The two rode south all night through the darkened woods of Maryland.

President Lincoln was taken by doctors to a boarding house across the street from the theater, but there was nothing they could do to save him. Unconscious since being shot, Lincoln’s heartbeat and breathing stopped at seven o’clock the next morning.

For twelve days Booth and Herold evaded a massive manhunt but were finally tracked down by a Union cavalry unit as they hid in a tobacco barn twenty miles south of the Potomac River in Virginia.

Being a dark night, the soldiers could not see into the barn, so Booth was ordered to come out and surrender peacefully, or else they would burn down the barn.

BOOK: Assassination!: The Brick Chronicle of Attempts on the Lives of Twelve US Presidents
13.04Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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