George Atzerodt

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George Atzerodt
George Atzerodt2.jpg
Born George Andreas Atzerodt
(1835-06-12)June 12, 1835
Dörna (today part of Anrode), Thuringia, Germany
Died July 7, 1865(1865-07-07) (aged 30)
Washington, D.C.
Criminal penalty
Death by hanging
Criminal status
Conviction(s) Conspiracy to assassinate the president

George Andreas Atzerodt (June 12, 1835 – July 7, 1865)[1][2] was a conspirator, with John Wilkes Booth, in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Assigned to assassinate Vice-President Andrew Johnson, he lost his nerve and did not make an attempt.[3] He was executed along with three other conspirators by hanging.

Trial and execution[edit]

Execution of Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold and George Atzerodt on July 7, 1865 at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C. Digitally restored.

Atzerodt's attorney, Captain William Doster, stated to the court that he intended "to show that George Atzerodt was a constitutional coward; that if he had been assigned the duty of assassinating the Vice President, he could never have done it; and that, from his known cowardice, Booth probably did not assign to him any such duty."[4] However, this was to no avail.

After the conviction Atzerodt offered a confession to Reverend Butler, a minister who came to his cell to offer him comfort. Butler said that Atzerodt admitted that he did in fact go to the meeting in March to help plan the kidnapping of President Lincoln while he attended a play at a hospital. Atzerodt said he first heard about Booth's plan to assassinate the President just two hours before the shooting. Atzerodt said that Booth really wanted David Herold to assassinate Vice President Johnson because he thought that Herold had "more pluck" than Atzerodt did. Atzerodt said Booth wanted him to "back up" Herold and "give him more courage."[4]

Atzerodt and three other convicted conspirators (Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, and David Herold) were hanged in Washington, D.C., on July 7, 1865. Atzerodt's last words were: "May we all meet in the other world. God take me now."[4] He did not die instantly; his neck did not break upon impact, and his body shuddered for several minutes before dying.[5] Atzerodt is interred under the fictitious name Gottlieb Taubert in St. Paul's Lutheran Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland.[6]


  1. ^ "Abraham Lincoln's Assassination – George Atzerodt". Abraham Lincoln Research. December 29, 1996. Retrieved 2008-11-08. 
  2. ^ Linder, Douglas. "The Trial of the Lincoln Assassination Conspirators 1865". Retrieved 2008-11-08. 
  3. ^ Hamner, Christopher. "Booth's Reason for Assassination." Accessed 12 July 2011.
  4. ^ a b c Linder, Douglas. "The Trial of the Lincoln Assassination Conspirators 1865 – George Atzerodt". 
  5. ^ New York Herald July 8, 1865
  6. ^ Michael W. Kauffman, American Brutus, at p. 391

External links[edit]