Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer (P.S.)
James L. Swanson
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The murder of Abraham Lincoln set off the greatest manhunt in American history. From April 14 to April 26, 1865, the assassin, John Wilkes Booth, led Union cavalry and detectives on a wild twelve-day chase through the streets of Washington, D.C., across the swamps of Maryland, and into the forests of Virginia, while the nation, still reeling from the just-ended Civil War, watched in horror and sadness.
James L. Swanson's Manhunt is a fascinating tale of murder, intrigue, and betrayal. A gripping hour-by-hour account told through the eyes of the hunted and the hunters, this is history as you've never read it before.
and had produced a transcript of 4,900 pages. On June 29, the commission went into secret session. After such a long and complicated trial, observers thought that it might take weeks to reach verdicts. But the end came more quickly. After deliberating just a few days, the tribunal presented the verdicts and sentences to Johnson on July 5. He approved them at once, and the next day Hancock carried the execution orders to the prison. The residents of Washington did not know until the Evening Star
head away from Booth, low and to the left, as though trying to evade the shot. The black powder charge exploded and spit the bullet toward Lincoln’s head. James Ferguson saw Lincoln move just before he saw the muzzle flash illuminate the box momentarily like a miniature lightning bolt. The president’s movement and the shot were simultaneous. Had Booth missed? If he had, the assassin was suddenly at great risk because he didn’t have the twenty to forty seconds needed to reload—and, anyway, he
The narrative of Booth’s time at Garrett’s farm, and all direct quotations, are drawn from several accounts. This collection of sources includes statements, reports, and testimony, and covers the pursuit to Bowling Green, the arrival at Garrett’s farm, the parley with Booth, Herold’s surrender, and the shooting and death of the assassin. Captain Edward P. Doherty’s major accounts can be found in his report of April 29, 1865; his testimony at the conspiracy trial of May 22, 1865; and in his
him quickly. Stanton reached for Olcott’s helping hand, telegraphing a prompt reply: “I desire your services. Come to Washington at once, and bring your force of detectives with you.” Olcott hurried to move that night: “I leave at midnight with such of my men as live in town. The rest will follow forthwith.” That afternoon Stanton also summoned Lieutenant Colonel Lafayette C. Baker, head of the self-styled “National Detective Police,” and one of his favorites. WAR DEPARTMENT Washington City,
broken revolvers, jackets, one-eyed horses, bankbooks, mysterious letters, plugs of tobacco, hotel registers, notes to vice presidents, theatrical trunks, spurs, bridles, saddles, and eyewitness accounts were all fine clues that made the assassin and his accomplices seem tantalizingly vivid and near. These clues would make good evidence at a criminal trial as proofs of identity and guilt. The evidence collected on April 14 and 15 certainly confirmed that it was Booth who had shot Lincoln, and