Honors Civics and Economics
20 March 2014
Book Assignment 1: Chasing Lincoln’s Killer
The book Chasing Lincoln’s Killer is about the world famous story of assassinating President Abraham Lincoln. This book takes the reader into the lives and minds of the four main conspirators responsible for the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the attempted assassination of the Vice President, Andrew Johnson , and the Secretary of State, William H. Seaward. Not only will the reader learn about the details of the planned assassinations but the background of all conspirators involved, each one of their motives for committing the crimes, and all the differences between the actual killings and what was supposed to happen if everything went according to plan. In this gripping novel the writer, James Swanson, takes the reader through a key point in American history in order to learn the truth of what must have happened while chasing Lincoln’s killer.
Shortly after the Civil war had ended and the confederate capital Richmond had fallen, the well known actor John Wilkes Booth decided to kill the President, and with the help of some friends the Vice President and Secretary of State as well. The man George Atzerodt was given the job of killing the Vice President. His plan was to book a room in the same hotel and Vice President Johnson but when the morning of the day he was supposed to commit the assassination came he backed out and could not carry through with the murder. Two other men, Lewis Powell and David Herold, were assigned to kill the Secretary of State William H. Seaward. Powell attempted to shoot him with a revolver but after a misfire attempted to stab Seaward unsuccessfully because of a jaw splint Seaward had on. After the failed assassination Powell and Herold split up. Powell was caught three days later when arriving at another conspirators house. John Wilkes Booth Hunger for fame led him to killing Lincoln himself. He later met back up with Herold to run away from authorities only to be caught twelve days later. On this twelfth day Booth found himself trapped in a barn on the Garrett Farm where he was shot by Sergeant Boston corbett. Lewis Powell and George Atzerodt met with David Herold where they were captured, then later hanged for their crimes. The story of James Wilkes Booth experience is much more interesting however. He had the most complicated job where he had to sneak past all guards through back doors in the theatre in order to get to the President. After getting to the balcony where Lincoln was he came up just behind him with no one aware and shot him in the back of the head with a pistol. “Lincoln had not seen Booth coming. The bullet struck him behind the head, on the lower left side, just below the ear. The ball ripped through his chestnut-colored hair, cut the skin, penetrated the skull, and because of the angle of Lincoln’s head at the moment of the impact, made a diagonal tunnel through Lincoln’s brain.” This...