Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Notables of Port Tobacco

Port Tobacco was the birthplace or home to some notable characters throughout history. Some went on to do great things and others...not so great. I'd like to add another element to this blog that includes some brief biographical sketches.

George A. Atzerodt

Today's blog features one of the more dispicable products from the town: George Atzerodt, Lincoln assassination conspirator. Atzerodt was a Prussian immigrant and with his brother, opened a carriage shop at Port Tobacco. George was known for rowing his Confederate friends across the Potomac when he was approached by John Surratt and taken to the home of John's mother, Mary. It was then alleged he met with the likes of John Wilkes Booth, David Herold and Lewis Paine.

Most of you know how things turned out: Lincoln was assassinated, Booth was killed and Mary Surratt, David Herold, Lewis Paine, and George Atzerodt were hung from the gallows at Old Capitol Prison in Washington DC.

Four Lincoln assassination conspirators preparing for execution at Old Capitol Prison. Atzerodt's face is circled as Mary Surratt has a hood placed over her head.

It is also notable that Atzerodt was referred to by name as "Port Tobacco" and was also a "notable coward". In 1977, his written confession was discovered and it implicated many of the alleged participants and exhonorated others. In his confession, Atzerodt makes a reference to some proprietors of Port Tobacco at the time. "Surratt bought a boat from Dick Smoot & James Brawner living about Port Tobacco, for which they paid $300.00 and was to give one hundred Dolls. extra for taking care of it till wanted." His last words were "May we all meet in the other world. God take me now."

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