George Atzerodt, Lincoln Co-conspirator

George Atzerodt, Lincoln Co-conspirator


One of the four conspirators tried and hung for the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

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George Atzerodt, Lincoln Co-conspirator

  • Washington, DC

George Andreas Atzerodt, born in 1835, immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1843. He opened a carriage repair business in Port Tobacco, MD. Recruited by John Wilkes Booth to participate in a plan to kidnap the President, he objected to the change in plan to assassinate Vice-President Andrew Johnson at the same time Booth was to kill President Lincoln and Powell was to kill Secretary of State William Seward. However, he registered under the name of Arthur Judd at the National Hotel in Washington, DC, according to J. W. Reynolds in his statement now recorded in Letters Received and Statements of Evidence Gathered by the Military Commission, page 283, dated 22 April 1865. The National Hotel was where Johnson lived and also where Booth was staying. However, Atzerodt could not follow through with the others in the events of that evening. Instead, he apparently got drunk and wandered about town until the next day. The day following the assassination, police searched his room and found weapons and a bank-book belonging to John Wilkes Booth. He claimed, after his arrest on 20 April at the home of his uncle Hartman Richter in Germantown, MD, that he did not think Booth would go through with his plan to assassinate Lincoln.

A description of George Atzerodt was given by David Herold, another co-conspirator, in the voluntary statement Herold gave on 27 April, after his (Herold's) capture. This statement is found on page 451 of Letters Received and Statements of Evidence Collected by the Military Commission in Lincoln Assassination Papers on Footnote. Azterodt was tried on a charge of conspiracy to murder and hung along with Mary E. Surratt, Lewis T. Powell and David E. Herold on 7 July 1865 in Washington, DC.

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