On the night of 14-April-1865, Good Friday, President Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary went to Ford's Theater to see Laura Keene in the comedy Our American Cousin. The coward John Wilkes Booth entered the presidential box during the third act and shot Lincoln in the back of the head. Booth fled and was the subject of a huge manhunt for the next twelve days. He spent much of the time squatting in a swamp, which seems appropriate. On 26-April-1865, Soldiers of the 16th New York Cavalry Regiment found him at the Garrett Farm. Sergeant Boston Corbett put him out of his misery and allowed him to cheat the hangman. Notice that Davey Herold's family name is spelled at least three different ways. From the 27-April-1865 Washington Evening Star.
CAPTURE OF THE ASSASSIN BOOTH!!
HIS IGNOMINIOUS DEATH!!
CAPTURE OF HEROLD ALIVE!
BOOTH TAKEN IN A BARN!
HE FIRES ON OUR MEN!!
THE FIRE RETURNED.
BOOTH SHOT IN THE NECK.
HE DIES IN THREE HOURS.
THE BODY BROUGHT TO THE NAVY YARD.
War Department, Washington, D. C., April 27, l865.
Major Gentral Dix, New York:
J. Wilkes Booth and Harrold were chased from the swamp in St. Mary's county, Md., pursued yesterday morning to Garrett's farm, near Port Royal, on the Rappahannock, by Col. Baker's force.
The barn in which they took refuge was fired.
Booth in making his escape was shot through the head and killed, lingering about three hours, and Harrold taken alive.
Booth's body and Harrold are now here.
Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War.
The thrilling intelligence of the capture and ignominious death Of the assassin Booth was received with profound satisfaction here, the only shade of alloy being in the fact that the villain met any end less disgraceful than in having his neck stretched.
To Col. L. C. Baker, special detective of the War Department, and his admirably trained detective force, and to the New York cavalry, the active participators in the seizures, the country owes a debt of gratitude for this timely service.
It seems that a detachment of the 16th New York cavalry, numbering about twenty-five men, which was dispatched from this city on Monday under the direction of Colonel L. C. Baker, special detective of the War Department, in command of Lieut. Dogherty, accompanied by some of Col. Baker's officers, captured and killed Booth and captured Herold one of his accomplices alive.
The cavalry, after leaving here, landed at Belle Plain in the night, and immediately started out in pursuit of Booth and Herold, having previously ascertained from a colored man that they had crossed the river into Virginia at Swan Point, in a small canoe, hired by Booth from a man for $300.
Proceeding on towards Bowling Green, some three miles from Port Royal, Lieut. Dogherty, who was in command of the cavalry, discovered that Booth and Herold were secreted in a large barn, owned by a man named Garrett. and were well armed.
The cavalry then surrounded the barn and summoned Booth and his accomplice to surrender. Herold was inclined at first to accede to the request, but Booth accused him of cowardice, then they both peremptorily refused to surrender and made preparations to defend themselves,
In order to take the conspirators alive, the barn was fired, and the flames getting too hot for Herold he approached the door of the barn and signified his willingness to be taken prisoner. Herold then came out of the barn and gave himself up. and was securely handcuffed. Booth maintained a defiant attitude, refusing to surrender, and in braggadocia style challenged his pursuers to fight him by turns singly. As the roof of the barn was about falling in, and Booth manifested a disposition to make a bolt, be was shot by Sergeant Boston Corbett, of the 16th New York, the ball taking effect in the neck, from the effects of which he died in about three hours.
Booth, before breathing his last, was asked if he had anything to say, when he replied. "Tell my mother that I died for my country."
Herold and the body of Booth was brought into Belle Plain at eight o'clock last night, and reached the Navy Yard here at one o'clock this morning, on board of the steamer John S. Ides, Capt. Henry Wilson.
The statement heretofore published that Booth had injured one of his legs by the falling of his horse, has proven to be correct. After he was shot it was discovered that one of his legs was badly injured, and that he was compelled to wear an old shoe, and use crutches, which be had with him in the barn Booth was shot about 4 o'clock in the morning, and died about 7 o'clock.
Booth had upon his person some bills of exchange, but only $175 in Treasury notes.
It appears that Booth and Herold left Washington together on the night of the murder of President Lincoln, and passed through Leonardtown, Md., concealing themselves in the vicinity until an opportunity was afforded them to cross the river at Swan Point, which they did as above stated.
The man who hired Booth and his accomplice the boat in which he crossed the river was captured, we understand, but afterwards made his escape.
Herold has been lodged in a secure place.
Bowling Green, near which place Booth was killed, is a post village, the capital of Caroline county, Va, on the road from Richmond to Fredericksburg, 45 miles north of the former, and is situated in a fertile and healthy region. It contains 2 churches, 3 stores, 2 mills, and about 300 inhabitants.
Port Royal is a post village in Caroline county, Va., on the right bank of the Rappahannock river, twenty-two miles below Fredericksburg. It has a population of six hundred, and there is a good steamboat landing near the place.
2 O'CLOCK P. M.
THE LAST OF BOOTH.
VERY INTERESTING PARTICULARS.
STATEMENTS OF THE PARTIES WHERE BOOTH LODGED.
HE IS TAKEN THERE AS A WOUNDED MARYLAND SOLDIER.
HE PRETENDS GREAT HORROR OF THE ASSASSINATION.
DESCRIPTION OF HIS BODY.
THE SHOT THAT KILLS HIM ENTERS HIS HEAD VERY NEAR THE PLACE WHERE MR. LINCOLN WAS SHOT!
Booth and Herold reached Garrett's some days ago, Booth walking on crutches. A party of four or five accompanied them, who spoke of Booth as a wounded Marylander, on his way home, and that they wished to leave him there a short time, and would take him away by the 26th, (yesterday). Booth limped somewhat and walked on crutches about the place, complaining of his ankle. He and Herold regularly took their meals at the house, and both kept up appearances well.
One day at the dinner table the conversation turned on the assassination of the President when Booth denounced the assassination in the severest terms, saying that there was no punishment severe enough for the perpetrator. At another time some one said in Booth's presence that rewards amounting to $200,000 had been offered for Booth, and that he would like to catch him, when Booth replied, "Yes, it would be a good haul, but the amount would doubtless soon be increased to $500,000.
The two Garretts who lived on the place allege that they had no idea that these parties (Booth and Herold) were any other than what their friends represented themselves -- paroled Confederate soldiers on their way home. They also say that when the cavalry appeared in that neighborhood, and they heard that they were looking for the assassins, that they sent word to them that these two men were on the place. In other words, they assert that they are entirely innocent of giving the assassins any aid and comfort, knowing them to be such.
The Ida (tug boat) reached here about two o'clock last night with Herold and the two young men above referred to, as well as the body of Booth. Herold was immediately placed in a safe place. He thus far, it is stated, has manifested no disposition to speak of the affair, but as he was known as a very talkative young man, he may soon resume the use of his tongue.
Booth and Herold were dressed in Confederate grey -- new uniforms. Herold was otherwise not disguised much. Booth's moustache had been cutoff apparently with scissors, and his beard allowed to grow, changing his appearance considerably. His hair had been cut somewhat shorter than he usually wore it. Booth's body, which we have above described, was at once laid out on a bench and a guard placed over it. The lips of the corpse are tightly compressed, and the blood has settled in the lower part of the face and neck. Otherwise the face is pale and wears a wild haggard look, indicating exposure to the elements and a rough time generally in his skulking flight.
His hair Is disarranged and dirty, and apparently had not been combed since he took his flight. The head and breast is alone exposed to view, the lower portion of the body, including the hands and feet, being covered with a tarpaulin thrown over it.
The shot which terminated his accursed life entered on the left side at the back of the neck, a point, curiously enough, not far distant from that in which his victim, our lamented President, was shot. No orders have yet been given as to what disposition will be made of the body.
Large numbers of persons have been seeking admission to the Navy Yard to-day, to get a sight or the body, and to hear the particulars, but none excepting the workmen, the officers of the yard, and those holding orders from the Department, are allowed to enter.
A Spencer carbine, which Booth had with him in the barn, at the time he was shot by Sergeant Corbett, and a large knife, with blood on it, supposed to be the one which Booth cut Major Rathbone with in the theater box on the night of the murder of President Lincoln, and which was found on Booth's body, has been brought to the city. The carbine and knife are now in the possession of Col. Baker at his office.
The bills of exchange, which are for a considerable amount, found on Booth's person, were drawn on banks in Canada in October last. About that time Booth was known to have been in Canada.
It is now thought that Booth's leg was fractured in jumping from the box in Ford's Theatre upon the stage, and not by the falling of his horse while endeavoring to make his escape, as was at first supposed.