- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Here are highlights of John Wilkes Booth’s escape route from Ford’s Theatre through Maryland to the Garrett Farm near Port Royal, Va. Keep in mind that many of the still-existing buildings associated with the escapees or those who aided them are in private hands.

1. Ford’s Theatre: 511 10th St. NW. Booth shot Lincoln at about 10:15 p.m. April 14, 1865. He fled east on F Street, then made his way to Pennsylvania Avenue and 11th Street Southeast and the Navy Yard Bridge at the foot of 11th Street. Once in Anacostia, he headed down Harrison Street, now Good Hope Road.

2. Soper’s Hill: Booth and conspirator David Herold rendezvoused here, about eight miles from the District line in Prince George’s County on the road to Surrattsville (now Clinton).

3. Surratt’s Tavern: 9118 Brandywine Road, Clinton. Booth and Herold stopped here about midnight to pick up guns and supplies. Built in 1852 by John Surratt, the combination farm, tavern and post office had been leased to former Metropolitan Police Officer John Lloyd after Surratt’s death in 1862. It is a museum and is open to the public.

4. St. Peter’s Church: Off Poplar Hill Road, Waldorf, Md. Booth and Herold passed here on their way to the home of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd. Edman Spangler, the Ford’s Theater carpenter who was convicted of conspiring with Booth but later pardoned, is buried in Old St. Peter’s cemetery, about one-quarter mile east of the present building on Poplar Road. After his release from prison, Spangler was taken in by Dr. Mudd and lived with the family until his death in 1875.

5. Home of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd: 3725 Dr. Samuel Mudd Road, Waldorf. Booth and Herold arrived here, according to the National Park Service, about 4 a.m. April 15, and Dr. Mudd set Booth’s broken leg. According to most historians, Booth had met Mudd in November 1864 at St. Mary’s Church in nearby Bryantown and again in December, when he stayed the night at the farmhouse. The house is a museum. For information, call 301/645-6870 or 301/274-9358 or see the Web site at www.somd.lib.md.us/ MUSEUMS/Mudd.htm.

6. Bryantown Tavern: Here Mudd introduced Booth to Confederate agent Thomas Harbin before the assassination. From the Mudd house, turn right onto Dr. Mudd Road and proceed 1.5 miles to a right on Bryantown Road (Route 232). Cross Route 5 and make a right onto Trotter Road. The second house on the right is Old Bryantown Tavern. Privately owned.

7. St. Mary’s Church: About one mile south of Bryantown on Route 232. This was the Mudd family’s home church, and many family members, including Dr. Mudd, are buried in the church cemetery. John Thompson introduced Booth to Mudd here in the fall of 1864.

8. Home of Oswell Swann: Booth and Herold arrived here about 9 p.m. April 15. They asked directions of Swann, a black tobacco farmer who owned his own land, and with his help made their way through the Zekiah Swamp to the home of Samuel Cox at Rich Hill.

9. Rich Hill, home of Samuel Cox: Booth and Herold arrived here about midnight. They hid in a nearby thicket and were fed by Cox’s overseer. Eventually Cox turned them over to Thomas Jones, another Confederate agent. Privately owned.

10. Pine thicket: Booth and Herold hid out here for several days, supplied with food and newspapers by Thomas Jones before he took them to his home.

11. Huckleberry, home of Thomas Jones: Jones took Booth and Herold to his home here, just out of sight of pursuing troops. They arrived around dinnertime April 20, according to most accounts. Then they made their way to the Potomac River, where Jones had hidden a small boat. They pushed off about 9 p.m. Jones set them a course that would take them to Mathias Point in Virginia and then to Machodoc Creek, where they were to contact Confederate agents Elizabeth Quesenberry and Thomas Harbin.

12. Home of John J. Hughes: Booth and Herold’s attempt to cross the Potomac failed, and at about daybreak April 21, they ended up back on the Maryland side, where they were cared for by Confederate agent John Hughes, according to a Hughes descendant. They tried again on April 23.

13. Gambo Creek: Now part of the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Dahlgren, Va. Booth and Herold reached this creek, upstream from Machodoc, at daybreak April 23. From there, Herold went to Mrs. Quesenberry’s house. She sent for Thomas Harbin, who took the two to Cleydael, the summer home of Dr. Richard Stuart

14. Cleydael, home of Dr. Richard Stuart: The two arrived here at 5 or 6 p.m. April 23. Stuart refused to give Booth medical attention and instead took the pair to the home of William Lucas, a black man. Insulted, Booth threatened Lucas and his wife and forced them out of the cabin. He and Herold spent the night inside. Take Route 206 West (Dahlgren Road) and turn left past Route 218. Go about 11/2 miles and turn left into the Cleydael housing development. Turn right at Old Peppermill Road and look for the second house on the right. Privately owned. For more on Cleydael, see www.cleydael.org.

15. Port Conway: At noon April 24, Booth and Herold met three Confederate soldiers and crossed the Rappahannock River.

16. The Garrett farm: At 3 p.m. April 24, Booth and Herold ended up here. Herold and the soldiers left Booth. According to information from the Surratt House, Herold and the three Confederate soldiers went first to a brothel and then to the Star Hotel in Bowling Green. Booth stayed the night as a guest. Herold returned at about 3 p.m. April 25. Suspicious now, the Garretts moved the pair to the barn. Meanwhile, 26 troopers from the 16th New York Cavalry arrived at about 2 a.m. April 26. They surrounded the barn and tried to negotiate Booth’s surrender. Booth refused outright, although Herold is said to have been heard begging to be allowed to surrender. Finally, about 4 a.m., the barn was set on fire in an attempt to draw Booth out. Booth was shot in the neck and died about 7 a.m. The plaque for the farm is about 21/2 miles south of Port Royal on Route 301, but in the northbound lane. The last remains of the Garrett farmhouse were torn away shortly before World War II; there is little here to let you know that this area was once a working farm.

Lisa Rauschart

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