Saturday, April 26, 2014

Useless Useless

On April 26th 1865, Union soldiers caught up with John Wilkes Booth at the Garrett Farm, and killed him.

Union Lieutenant Colonel Everton Conger learned through interrogation that John Wilkes Booth and David E Herold were at the Richard Garrett Farm near Port Royal, Virginia.  In the early morning hours of April 26th 1865 Conger accompanied 25 Union soldiers from the 16th New York Cavalry commanded by Lieutenant Edward P Doherty. They surrounded the tobacco barn that Booth and Herold were hiding in, and demanded their surrender.  Herold gave himself up, but Booth refused, so the soldiers set the barn on fire.

Booth could be seen moving around inside the burning barn.  Union Sergeant Boston Corbett, claimed to have seen Booth raise a gun to shot, and so he fired at Booth. The shot struck Booth in the neck.  He was dragged from the barn and placed on the porch of the Garrett farmhouse.  The bullet had gone through several vertebrae and partially severed his spinal cord.  As he got close to dying, Booth said, "Tell my mother I died for my country."  He then asked that his hands be held up where he could see them and said his last words, "Useless, useless."  It took him three hours to die.

In Booth’s pockets were the pictures of five different women, a candle, a compass, and his diary.  In the diary Booth had written of President Abraham Lincoln, "Our country owed all her troubles to him, and God simply made me the instrument of his punishment."

To read some eyewitness accounts of The Death of John Wilkes Booth check this web site.

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