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Conspirator David Herold

Civil War Photographs: Abraham Lincoln's Assassination

By , About.com Guide

David Herold was arrested and put to death as one of the conspirators in the death of Abraham Lincoln. His connection with the conspirators came through his friendship with John Surratt. Surratt had come up with the original plan to kidnap Lincoln and hold him for ransom.

On April 14, 1865, the night that Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth, Herold and co-conspirator Lewis Payne were supposed to kill Secretary of State William H. Seward. Herold accompanied Payne to Seward's house where he was recuperating after being injured in a carriage accident. Payne went into the house and attacked Seward while Herold waited outside. However, Herold fled after the attack began.

Herold later met up with Booth in Maryland. Booth had a broken leg which Dr. Samuel Mudd set. Herold then continued to help Booth as they fled. They were found hiding in a barn. When the soldiers caught up with them and demanded their surrender, Herold came out willingly while Booth remained in the barn.

David Herold was the conspirator who went with Lewis Payne to attack Secretary of State, William Seward as a part of John Wilkes Booth's conspiracy against the Federal Government.
April, 1865.

Idea for Includion in Lessons

Herold accompanied Payne to Seward's house but didn't enter. In addition, he aided Booth in his escape. Despite not being directly involved in the assassination and murder attempt, Herold was sentenced to death. Have students write a position paper where they answer the question: Should Herold have received the death penalty for his involvement in the conspiracy?

Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-B8171-7784 DLC

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