On Good Friday, April 14, 1865 Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. This was brought upon by Lincoln’s plans to extend voting rights to blacks. Let me add that I am not stating I’m in support or against this, just stating the facts. John Wilkes Booth previously had plans to kidnap the U.S. President and ransom him for the return of Confederate POW’s held in the North. This is probably something that is not as well known. There is little information available on the events leading up to the assassination, but there are some conspiracy theories out there of course.
It is said that the plot of murdering Lincoln was just a part of a larger conspiracy. The same night Lincoln was assassinated, Lewis Powell repeatedly stabbed Secretary of State William H. Seward. Secretary Seward was actually recovering from a severs carriage accident when this occurred. Because he was wearing a jaw splint as a result of the accident, this splint prevented the knife from slicing his jugular vein. Thus Powell’s assassination attempt was unsuccessful. For those of you who are unaware, Powell was one of four people that were hanged as part of the Lincoln assassination conspiracy.
This whole plot contained 4 conspirators… John Wilkes Booth, George Atzerodt, David Herold and Lewis Powell. This was to be a series of attacks on key officials. Booth of course was to assassinate President Lincoln, Powell and Herold were to take care of Secretary Seward, and Atzerodt was to kill Vice President Andrew Johnson. This would of been quite a devastating impact on the government at that time.
Vice President Andrew Johnson actually came out unharmed as Atzerodt had gotten drunk and chickened out on his task. It is said that General Ulysses S. Grant was scheduled for assassination at Ford’s Theatre, but actually had changed his plans to go to the theatre.
Powell was actually arrested at Mary Surratt’s boardinghouse after being thrown from his horse. He was picked out of a lineup by William Bell, a family servant of the Seward Family. The manhunt for Booth was not quite as easy. It was actually the largest manhunt in world history up to that time.
Lincoln never got any rest even in death. In 1876, there were two counterfeiters that were caught in the act of stealing Lincoln’s corpse from Springfield cemetery in Illinois. Again, the plan was to use it as ransom for the return of fellow counterfeiters from prison. Between the years 1865 and 1901, Lincoln’s coffin was opened six different times for various reasons. My goodness I mean, this was a bunch of crazy events…Seems to me all these guys plotting against Lincoln had nothing in their favor going for them. This should of been a sign to do something else, maybe play gold or something!