Highlights from the Museum: The Almost Assassins


Life-size figures of John Wilkes Booth and assassination conspirators Lewis Powell and George Atzerodt, as well as some of their belongings, can be seen on display at the Ford’s Theatre Museum. In this month’s Museum post, learn more about Powell and Atzerodt.

If all had gone according to plan, John Wilkes Booth and his accomplices would have committed three murders on the evening of Abraham Lincoln’s shooting. Unknowingly, Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward had become targets in the conspirators’ larger plan to cut off United States leadership at the head in the single night of April 14, 1865.

Secretary Seward, who had broken his jaw in a carriage accident only a few weeks earlier, was confined to his bed when a man named Lewis Powell arrived outside his home. Six-foot-one with dark hair, Powell had joined the Confederate army at age 17. After wounding…

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