53 pages 1 hour read

James L. Swanson

Chasing Lincoln's Killer

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 2009

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Chapters 3-5

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 3 Summary

Swanson shifts to the simultaneous events happening at Seward’s home, less than a mile from Ford’s Theater. Lincoln and Seward are close friends and confidants, and Lincoln was very concerned after the accident.

On the night of the assassination, Seward is being attended to by his daughter, Fanny. Unknown to them, William Powell and David Herold are watching the house. According to Swanson, the fact of the carriage accident actually gave Booth the idea to assassinate Seward, since he felt confident that Seward would be at home. On the other hand, the mission for Powell is difficult, since it means making his way through the home, locating Seward, killing him, and escaping. Powell decides to pretend that he is a doctor’s messenger, with an important parcel.

At the door, Powell is greeted by a black servant, William Bell. Bell has no reason to doubt the veracity of Powell’s story; however, he is resistant to Powell’s demand to encounter Seward in person. Having entered the house, the large-framed Powell managed to make his way up to Seward’s room. Fanny Seward, concerned, opened the door to her father’s room just enough to see what was happening.