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1865 April 29: Assassin Booth Captured and Killed, Plus Other News

May 5, 2015

Following are the smaller news items from the April 29, 1865, issues of The Polk County News and The Prescott Journal.

From The Polk County News:


To Major Gen. Dix [John A. Dix] :

NEW YORK, April 27, p. m.—The following is a corrected copy of the official sent around this morning.


WASHINGTON, Apr. 27. }

J. Wilkes Booth and Harrold [sic]¹ were chased from the swamp in St. Mary’s county, Maryland, to Garrott’s farm, near Port Royal, on the Rappahannock, by Col. Baker’s² 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 was captured.  Booth’s body and Harrold [sic] are now here.

(Signed)      E. M. Stanton [Edwin M. Stanton],
.                  .Secretary of War.

"Capture of Herold and the Shooting of Booth in the Barn of Garath's Farm by a detachment of the 16th New York Cavalry under the Order of Col Baker." Lithograph by Charles, Kimmel & Foster, 1865.

“Capture of Herold and the Shooting of Booth in the Barn of Garath’s Farm by a Detachment of the 16th New York Cavalry Under the Order of Col Baker,” lithograph by Charles, Kimmel & Foster, 1865³

THE FUNERAL CAR.—The following is a description of the funeral car in which President LINCOLN’s [Abraham Lincoln] remains were taken in the procession from the executive mansion to the capitol where the remains lay in state in the rotunda, which was heavily draped in mourning :

The funeral car was large, the lower base 17 feet long and 7 wide and 8 feet from the ground.  The upper base, upon which the coffin rested, was 11 feet long, and 15 feet below the top of the canopy.  The canopy was surmounted by a gilt eagle covered with crape.  The whole hearse was covered with cloth, velvet crape and alapaca, with folds of cloth hanging at the side and ends, gathered and fastened by large rosettes of white and black velvet.  The coffin was so placed as to afford a full view to all spectators.  The car was drawn by six grey horses, each one attended by a groom.

THE FINAL BURIAL.—The preparations  for the final interment of the late President’s remains at Springfield have been made.  He will be buried upon the Mather place, a beautiful spot in the heart of the city, and a plan is already on foot to erect a suitable monument.

FUNERAL SERVICE.—Appropriate services were held in this village [Osceola, Wis.] last Sabbath, commemorative of the death of President Lincoln.

— A Boston dispatch of the 21st inst., states that a movement has been started there to raise $100,000, by one dollar subscriptions, to be presented to Mrs. Lincoln as a token of respect and veneration felt by the people for their departed President.

Macon Captured.

To Maj. Gen. Dix :

A dispatch from Sherman states that “Wilson held Macon on the 20th with Howell Cobb, G. W. Smith and others as prisoners, but they claim the benefit of the armistice, and he has telegraphed to me through the rebel lines for orders.  I have answered him that he may draw out of Macon and hold his command for further orders, unless he has reason to believe the rebels are changing the status to our prejudice.”

The department has information that the President’s murder was organized in Canada, and approved at Richmond.  One of the assassins now in prison who attempted to kill Mr. Seward is believed to be one of the St. Albans raiders.

Secretary of War.


WASHINGTON, April 27. 9:30 A. M. }

The Department has received the following dispatch from Major Gen. Halleck [Henry W. Halleck], commanding the Division of the James.

Generals Canby [Edward Canby] and Thomas [George H. Thomas] were instructed some days ago that Sherman’s arrangement with Johnston was disapproved by the President, and they were ordered to disregard it and to push the enemy in every direction.

Secretary of War.

BADLY WOUNDED.—Capt. Andrew Kelly, of Alden, in this county, was seriously, if not mortally wounded, at the capture of Richmond.  [Andrew A. Kelley]

FROM THE RECRUITS.—A letter from John Baker, dated at Memphis, April 12, states that our volunteers for the 2d Cavalry were all well, and all feeling fine over the late victories.—They are stationed in Memphis doing guard duty.

PROGRESS.—Col. SAM. HARRIMAN sends us a copy of “Grant’s Petersburg Progress.”  It is a Union paper, and was issued on the same day of the occupation by our troops of the city of Petersburg.  it is edited by Maj. BOB EDEN [Robert C. Eden], well known in the St. Croix Valley.

SANITARY.—The ladies have decided to send the box of fancy goods which they were preparing for the Chicago Sanitary Fair, to the Soldier’s Home Fair at Milwaukee, which is to be held in June next.  This will give the ladies more time to prepare their articles ;  besides it will be aiding Wisconsin’s soldiers directly.

— A Baltimore dispatch of the 18th says :  “The city Council have offered a reward for the arrest of the assassin of President Lincoln.  The feeling here against Booth is greatly intensified by the fact, that he is a Baltimorian, and it is desired by the people that one who has so dishonored the fame of Baltimore should meet with speedy justice.”

— The rewards offered for the apprehension of the assassin Booth, now amount to $80,000, as follows :  $59,000 by the military authorities, $20,000 by the city of Washington, and $10,000 by the city of Baltimore.  Besides these $10,000 is offered by Pennsylvania if the villain is caught in the State, and several other States have offered similar rewards.

— A Nashville telegram says :— “On the 15th inst., in the midst of the grief consequent upon the news of the sad events in Washington, the malignant spirit of secession could not conceal its gratification.  A man on Church street was so indiscreet as to think aloud in reference to the President’s murder, and say he was ‘glad the d—d abolition son of a b—h was dead ;  he ought to have died long ago !’  Before the words had fairly left his lips a soldier shot him through the heart, plunged his bayonet into the falling body, and pinning him to the ground !  So far from being arrested, a bystander offered to give $100 towards a testimonial for the avenger of the national insult.”

— President Johnson  has announced that he regards it of the utmost importance that Secretary Seward remain in the Cabinet.  [Andrew Johnson; William H. Seward]

— Sherman’s army is encamped in and around Raleigh, and Johnson’s [sic] about 30 miles distant 30,000 strong.  [William T. Sherman; Joseph E. Johnston]

THE NAVY.—The Navy Register says sixty vessels were added to the Navy between January 1st, 1864, and January 1st, 1865.  The names of 64 iron-clads are given.  The entire number of vessels is 643.  It appears that, within the period above mentioned, seven naval vessels were destroyed by rebel torpedoes, and as many captured by the enemy.

A GOOD FRIEND GONE.—Honorable Richard Cobden, one of our firmest friends in England, is dead.  The loyal men of the United States will long cherish his memory.  In this dark hour of grief, his death will be none the less keenly felt.

— Secretary Seward and son are reported as gaining rapidly, and will probably both recover.  Thus one part of the cowardly programme essentially failed.

— It is reported that Jeff. Davis [Jefferson Davis] crossed the Mississippi River at Tunker’s Bend, which was occupied by the Texas cavalry, on the night of the 16th, and escaped the observation of the naval forces.  The Augusta Constitutionalist, of the 15th, says Jeff. Davis has gone either to the Trans-Mississippi Department or Europe, taking half a million dollars in specie with him.

— Wisconsin has put in more men under the last call for troops than the State of New York.

— Orders have been issued by the War Department to stop recruiting and drafting.  Those drafted under the last call, who have not been forwarded to the front, will be discharged.  This is welcome news.

From The Prescott Journal:

THE OLD CABINET TO BE RETAINED.—President Johnson has formally announced that he desired to retain the present secretaries of departments in his cabinet, and they would go on and discharge their respective duties in the same manner as before the deplorable event that had changed the head of the government.

THE STATE DEPARTMENT.—In the illness of Secretary Seward resulting from his recent accinent [sic], Senator Sumner [Charles Sumner] has been assisting the President in conducting the Department of State, preparing with his own hand much of the important diplomatic correspondence, and since the attempted assassination, William Hunter, Esq., has been appointed acting Secretary of State during the disability of Mr. Seward and his son, Frederick Seward, the Assistant Secretary.  He is Chief Clerk of the State Department, a position he has filled for thirty years, during which time he has repeatedly acted in the capacity of acting Secretary.

Paroled Prisoners.

The following is a list of sick and wounded (paroled prisoners) Wisconsin soldiers landed at Jefferson Barracks U. S. Gen. Hospital, by hospital steamer R. C. Wood, from Vicksburg, Miss., at St. Louis, Mo., April 7th.

Sergt. Wm. McCormick, E, 2d Cav.
Peter Quinch, 7th battery.
Julius O. Olson, A, 12th.  [Julius O. Oleson, from Prescott]
Serget. O. K. Hanson, A, 15th.
Lucien Butler, D, 44th.

1.  David E. Herold (1842-1865) met Lincoln conspirator John Surratt while attending Charlotte Hall Academy, and through Surratt, Herold was introduced to John Wilkes Booth in 1863. On April 14, 1865, Herold accompanied Lewis Powell and waited outside with the horse while Powell attacked William H. Seward. After the attack, Herold met up with Booth. Pursuing soldiers caught up with Herold and Booth at Garrett’s farm in northern Virginia in the early morning of April 26. Herold surrendered rather than being shot or dying in the burning barn. 
2.   The men of the 16th New York Cavalry were commanded by Lieutenant Edward P. Doherty, and accompanied by intelligence chief Colonel Lafayette Baker.
Lafayette Curry Baker (1826-1868) was a Union Army investigator and spy. Baker’s exploits are mainly known through his book A History of the Secret Service (1867). Early in the Civil War he spied for General Winfield Scott and was promoted to captain. As Provost Marshal of Washington, D.C. (1862-63), Baker took charge of the Union Intelligence Service from Allan Pinkerton, and was appointed colonel of D.C. Cavalry in May 1863. Baker was recalled to Washington after the assassination of President Lincoln and within two days of his arrival in Washington, Baker’s agents had made four arrests and had the names of two more conspirators, including John Wilkes Booth. Before the month was out, Baker had tracked down Booth and Herold to the barn where they were found holed up.
3.  The Lincoln Image: Abraham Lincoln and the Popular Print, by Harold Holzer, Gabor S. Boritt, and Mark E. Neely Jr. (New York: Charles Scribner’sSons, 1984; re-published by the University of Illinois Press, 2001).

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