Seward’s close call


Sir, – An interesting footnote to your piece on US president Andrew Johnson is that both he and his secretary of state, William Seward, came very close to meeting the same fate as Abraham Lincoln (Wesley Boyd, An Irishman’s Diary, January 2nd).

On the night of April 14th, 1865, John Wilkes Booth and his co-conspirators intended to not only kill Lincoln but also both Johnson and Seward. Seward was in fact attacked in his bed by Lewis Powell and stabbed in the face and neck multiple times. However, shortly before, Seward had suffered a bad fall from a carriage which required him to wear a neck brace. The brace prevented Powell from cutting the jugular vein and more than likely saved Seward’s life.

Johnson’s would-be assassin, George Atzerodt, lost his nerve upon reaching Johnson’s boarding house and got drunk in a nearby bar instead. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 5.