Execution of Lincoln's Assassins

Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold, and George Atzerodt are hung for their part in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln
Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold, and George Atzerodt are hung for their part in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln

Historical Context

After the assassination of US President Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865, there was a national manhunt for his killers and those involved in the conspiracy to kill the president. John Wilkes Booth, the man who pulled the trigger, was killed in a shootout with government troops 12 days after the murder.

Four of the eight people put on trial by a military tribunal for their part in the conspiracy to assassinate the president were sentenced to hang. They were Mary Surratt, whose boardinghouse had been frequented by the conspirators and her tavern had been visited by Booth and David Herold after killing Lincoln; Lewis Powell, who had been tasked with killing Secretary of State William H. Seward on the night of the assassination; George Atzerodt, who was assigned to kill Vice President Andrew Johnson, but lost his nerve; and Herold, who was also tasked with killing Seward.

The conspirators were executed on July 7, 1865, at Fort McNair in Washington D.C. Mary Surratt thus became the first woman to be executed by the United States government, though after her conviction five jurors recommended clemency; President Andrew Johnson claimed he never received the letter. Her son, John Surratt, was the only person on trial who was not convicted and released.

Photo Info


Photographer: Alexander Gardner
Date taken: July 7, 1865
Location taken: Washington D.C., USA

Source: Wikimedia Commons

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  • 1865-07-07 Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold and George Atzerodt are executed for their role in the conspiracy to assassinate US President Abraham Lincoln

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