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The Life, Crime, and Capture of John Wilkes Booth   By: (1841-1914)

Book cover

First Page:

THE LIFE, CRIME, AND CAPTURE

OF

JOHN WILKES BOOTH,

WITH A FULL SKETCH OF THE

Conspiracy of which he was the Leader,

AND THE

PURSUIT, TRIAL AND EXECUTION OF HIS ACCOMPLICES.

BY GEORGE ALFRED TOWNSEND,

A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT.

[Illustration: THE LIFE, CRIME, AND CAPTURE OF John Wilkes Booth AND THE PURSUIT, TRIAL AND EXECUTION OF HIS ACCOMPLICES.]

EXPLANATORY.

One year ago the writer of the letters which follow, visited the Battle Field of Waterloo. In looking over many relics of the combat preserved in the Museum there, he was particularly interested in the files of journals contemporary with the action. These contained the Duke of Wellington's first despatch announcing the victory, the reports of the subordinate commanders, and the current gossip as to the episodes and hazards of the day.

The time will come when remarkable incidents of these our times will be a staple of as great curiosity as the issue of Waterloo. It is an incident without a precedent on this side of the globe, and never to be repeated.

Assassination has made its last effort to become indigenous here. The public sentiment of Loyalist and Rebel has denounced it: the world has remarked it with uplifted hands and words of execration. Therefore, as long as history shall hold good, the murder of the President will be a theme for poesy, romance and tragedy. We who live in this consecrated time keep the sacred souvenirs of Mr. Lincoln's death in our possession; and the best of these are the news letters descriptive of his apotheosis, and the fate of the conspirators who slew him.

I represented the World newspaper at Washington during the whole of those exciting weeks, and wrote their occurrences fresh from the mouths of the actors. Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865,

By DICK & FITZGERALD,

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York.

PREFATORY.

It has seemed fitting to Messrs. DICK & FITZGERALD to reproduce the World letters, as a keepsake for the many who received them kindly. The Sketches appended were conscientiously written, and whatever embellishments they may seem to have grew out of the stirring events, not out of my fancy.

Subsequent investigation has confirmed the veracity even of their speculations. I have arranged them, but have not altered them; if they represent nothing else, they do carry with them the fever and spirit of the time. But they do not assume to be literal history: We live too close to the events related to decide positively upon them. As a brochure of the day, nothing more, I give these Sketches of a Correspondent to the public.

G. A. T.

THE LIFE, CRIME, AND CAPTURE

OF

JOHN WILKES BOOTH.

LETTER I.

THE MURDER.

Washington, April 17.

Some very deliberate and extraordinary movements were made by a handsome and extremely well dressed young man in the city of Washington last Friday. At about half past eleven o'clock A. M., this person, whose name is J. Wilkes Booth, by profession an actor, and recently engaged in oil speculations, sauntered into Ford's Theater, on Tenth, between E and F streets, and exchanged greetings with the man at the box office. In the conversation which ensued, the ticket agent informed Booth that a box was taken for Mr. Lincoln and General Grant, who were expected to visit the theater, and contribute to the benefit of Miss Laura Keene, and satisfy the curiosity of a large audience. Mr. Booth went away with a jest, and a lightly spoken "Good afternoon." Strolling down to Pumphreys' stable, on C street, in the rear of the National Hotel, he engaged a saddle horse, a high strung, fast, beautiful bay mare, telling Mr. Pumphreys that he should call for her in the middle of the afternoon.

From here he went to the Kirkwood Hotel, on the corner of Pennsylvania avenue and Twelfth street, where, calling for a card and a sheet of notepaper, he sat down and wrote upon the first as follows:

For Mr. Andrew Johnson :

I don't wish to disturb you; are you at home?

J... Continue reading book >>




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