Killers in Color: Images of Abraham Lincoln’s Assassins


These fascinating colorized photos bring the men and woman who murdered Abraham Lincoln to life.

They show the conspirators handcuffed before their trial next to what is believed to be the last photo of Lincoln before his death.

Another colorized photo shows the moment four of the plotters were hanged in front of a crowd at Fort McNair.

The 16th President of the United States was shot dead in the theater by famous stage actor John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865.

Lewis Powell who failed to kill Secretary of State William Seward

These fascinating colorized photos bring the men involved in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln to life. Left: David Herold who led Booth’s escape. Right: Lewis Powell who failed to kill Secretary of State William Seward

From left to right: Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, George Atzerodt, David Herold taken to the scaffold on July 7, 1865

From left to right: Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, George Atzerodt, David Herold taken to the scaffold on July 7, 1865

David Herold, Lewis Powell, George Atzerodt and Mary Surratt were executed for their role in the assassination.

Michael O’Laughlen, Samuel Arnold, Samuel Mudd and Edmund Spangler were jailed.

Each conspirator was given a different role in the widespread assassination attempt of several high-level government members.

Edmund Spangler helped Booth escape but was spared death because he was unaware of the assassination beforehand. Booth was gunned down by Union forces after a dramatic 12-day manhunt led by David Herold.

Powell was responsible for the failed assassination attempt on Secretary of State William Seward that same night.

Samuel Arnold without handcuffs

Edmund Spangler, who has been accused of helping Booth escape the murder scene

Left: Booth’s longtime friend Samuel Arnold without handcuffs. Right: Edmund Spangler, accused of helping Booth escape the murder scene

Atzerodt had planned an assassination attempt against Vice President Andrew Johnson, but reportedly lost his temper.

The conspirators met at a Washington boarding house owned by Mary Surratt. Their trial ended on June 30 with Surratt, Powell, Herold and Atzerodt all sentenced to death.

They were put through a military trial as opposed to a civilian trial, however, with much controversy over how he was treated.

A colorized image of what is believed to be the last photo of Lincoln before his death

John Wilkes booth

Left: A colorized image of what is believed to be the last photo of Lincoln before his death. Right: John Wilkes booth

“The trial, under military jurisdiction, was controversial in that the accused’s defense did not have time to prepare, the accused were barred from testifying in their own defense, a lower standard of evidence was required to convict only in civil courts, and only a majority verdict among jurors was required for the death penalty to be passed, ”says author Michael D. Carroll.

“The southern states have accused the North of imposing a military trial to prevent civilian jurors from showing leniency towards the accused.

The role of George Atzerodt (1835-1865) in this sordid affair was to assassinate Vice President Andrew Johnson at Kirkwood House, a hotel where Johnson was staying.  But he didn't even try to kill Johnson and ended up drinking and walking around the capital.  He was executed with Powell and Herold at age 30.  Pictured: Atzerodt at 30

The role of George Atzerodt (1835-1865) in this sordid affair was to assassinate Vice President Andrew Johnson at Kirkwood House, a hotel where Johnson was staying. But he didn’t even try to kill Johnson and ended up drinking and walking around the capital. He was executed with Powell and Herold at age 30. Pictured: Atzerodt at 30

John Bingham, Judge Joseph Holt and Brigadier General Henry Burnett, prosecutors in the Lincoln assassination trial

John Bingham, Judge Joseph Holt and Brigadier General Henry Burnett, prosecutors in the Lincoln assassination trial

Samuel arnold

Conspirator Lewis Powell standing in overcoat and hat

Left: Samuel Arnold pictured before his trial. Right: Conspirator Lewis Powell standing in overcoat and hat

“The prisoners stood for ten seconds before Roth clapped his hands and four soldiers under the scaffolding knocked down the supports of the platform they were standing on.

“They fell and Surratt’s rope snapped cleanly, with no movement afterwards.

“Atzerodt rose up before coming to a stop, but Herold and Powell, the main conspirators, were strangled for five minutes. Powell struggled savagely, bringing his legs to his chest several times, before he was finally still.

The striking images are featured in a new book titled Retrographic: History in Living Color by Michael Carroll.

Killed in the Theater: Abraham Lincoln Assassination

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, was assassinated by famous stage actor John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865.

Confederate spy Booth shot him in the head during a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC

Lincoln died the next day at 7.22 a.m. in the Petersen House across from the theater.

He was the first US president to be assassinated and his funeral was followed by a long period of national mourning.

The assassination was part of a larger plot by Booth to rekindle the Confederate cause by eliminating the top three officials from the United States government.

Conspirators Lewis Powell and David Herold were tasked with killing Secretary of State William H. Seward, and George Atzerodt was tasked with killing Vice President Andrew Johnson. The first plot failed and Atzerodt lost his temper.


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