Chasing Lincoln’s Killer

Lewis Powell Character Analysis

A physically imposing and loyal co-conspirator of Booth’s, Powell was tasked with killing Secretary of State Seward. He gained entry to the Seward mansion by claiming to be a messenger from the injured secretary’s doctor. Once he learned the secretary’s location in the house he rushed into the room. He then had to fight Frederick Seward, Sergeant Robinson, Augustus Seward, and Fanny Seward. He brutally beat them, but at the last moment decided against killing Sergeant Robinson. He also told Augustus that he was insane. A couple days later, he sought a safe haven at Mary Surratt’s boardinghouse, but was instead arrested there.

Lewis Powell Quotes in Chasing Lincoln’s Killer

The Chasing Lincoln’s Killer quotes below are all either spoken by Lewis Powell or refer to Lewis Powell. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
News, Information, and Misinformation Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scholastic Press edition of Chasing Lincoln’s Killer published in 2009.
Chapter 3 Quotes

The sergeant and Augustus wrestled Powell into the hall and into the bright gaslight. Powell and Augustus, their faces inches apart, fixed their eyes on each other. Then Powell spoke. In an intense but calm voice, the assassin confided to Augustus, as though trying to persuade him, the strangest thing: “I’m mad. I’m mad!”

Related Characters: Lewis Powell (speaker), Augustus Seward, Sergeant Robinson
Page Number: 57-58
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 9 Quotes

Whatever papers Booth read, they all condemned him for his heinous act. Even worse, Booth saw the beginning of a change in how Abraham Lincoln was viewed by America. Lincoln was transformed from a controversial and often unpopular war leader into a martyr and hero. Stories reported in the papers condemned Booth by name in the most unforgiving, vicious language.

Page Number: 139
Explanation and Analysis:
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Lewis Powell Character Timeline in Chasing Lincoln’s Killer

The timeline below shows where the character Lewis Powell appears in Chasing Lincoln’s Killer. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Planning, Conspiracy, and the Unexpected Theme Icon
The Theatrical and The Real Theme Icon
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
Now, on April 14, 1865, Booth called on George Atzerodt and Lewis Powell to help him murder Lincoln, Vice President Andrew Johnson, and Secretary of State William Seward.... (full context)
Chapter 3
Planning, Conspiracy, and the Unexpected Theme Icon
Outside the house, Lewis Powell and David Herold watched the street. They saw no guards and knew that Seward should... (full context)
The Theatrical and The Real Theme Icon
Powell’s ring at the bell was answered by a black servant named William Bell. Bell believed... (full context)
Planning, Conspiracy, and the Unexpected Theme Icon
...poked her head out into the hall to tell Frederick that their father was awake. Powell tried to peer into the room behind Fanny, who held the door slightly ajar. Powell... (full context)
Planning, Conspiracy, and the Unexpected Theme Icon
Powell pretended to give up in his argument with Frederick and Bell and walked down the... (full context)
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
...the noise in the hallway and opened the door to see Frederick beaten and bloody. Powell pushed past her and straight up to Sergeant Robinson, whom he hit in the forehead... (full context)
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
...but quickly realized the man was not his father. The three men then fought, and Powell stabbed Robinson twice deeply before he was wrestled out into the hall where the gaslight... (full context)
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
Fanny ran to her father’s bedroom. Seward had rolled out of bed to escape Powell, and was on the floor. Sergeant Robinson, who was severely wounded, lifted Seward into his... (full context)
Chapter 4
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
...confirmed that Seward would survive despite his ghastly wounds, and treated the other four whom Powell had attacked: Sergeant Robinson, Fanny, Augustus, and Frederick. Terrified that Powell might return or that... (full context)
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
Riding away from the scene of the Seward attack, David Herold regretted abandoning Powell, but was relieved to be safe and outside of suspicion for any crime. He followed... (full context)
Planning, Conspiracy, and the Unexpected Theme Icon
Lewis Powell, meanwhile, did not know Washington, D.C. well. Lost in a strange city and drenched in... (full context)
News, Information, and Misinformation Theme Icon
...and Herold exchanged information. Herold knew nothing about Atzerodt’s mission, but he reported on how Powell’s trick with the package of medicine had worked to gain him entry and how the... (full context)
Chapter 8
Planning, Conspiracy, and the Unexpected Theme Icon
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
At the very moment when the women were being questioned, Lewis Powell showed up at the boardinghouse. Instead of Mary Surratt, a soldier answered the door and... (full context)
Chapter 9
News, Information, and Misinformation Theme Icon
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
...was hailed as a martyr. Booth was also horrified by the details he read about Powell’s savage attack on the members of the Seward family. (full context)
Chapter 13
Planning, Conspiracy, and the Unexpected Theme Icon
Stanton put eight defendants on trial: Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold, George Atzerodt, Samuel Arnold, Michael O’Laughlen, Edman Spangler and Samuel Mudd. Mudd was... (full context)
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
...interrogators. Nineteen other men received smaller awards for their help capturing George Atzerodt and Lewis Powell. Richard Garrett made a claim against the government for compensation for his burned barn, which... (full context)
Chapter 14
News, Information, and Misinformation Theme Icon
Survival vs Principles Theme Icon
...a rapid trial in May and June, Mary Surratt, David Herold, George Atzerodt, and Lewis Powell received death warrants on July 6, 1865. They would be hung the next day. Since... (full context)