Today, the Lincoln Commemorative Silver Dollar Coin remembers the events in the early morning hours of April 26, 1865.
The American and Commercial Advertiser newspaper in April 1865 included articles describing the fall of the assassin:
Booth and Harrold reached Garrett’s some days ago, Booth walking on crutches. A party of four or five accompanied them, who spoke of Booth as a wounded Marylander on his way home, and that they wished to leave him there a short time, and would take him away by the 26th (yesterday). Booth limped somewhat, and walked on crutches about the place, complaining of his ankle. He and Harrold regularly took their meals at the house, and both kept up appearances well.
One day at the dinner table the conversation turned on the assassination of the President, when Booth denounced the assassination in the severest terms, saying that there was no punishment severe enough for the perpetrator. At another time someone said in Booth’s presence that rewards amounting to $200,000 had been offered for Booth, and that he would like to catch him, when Booth replied, “Yes, it would be a good haul, but the amount would doubtless soon be increased to $500,000.”
The two Garretts who lived on the place allege that they had no idea that these parties (Booth and Harrold) were any other than what their friends represented themselves—paroled Confederate soldiers on their way home. They also say that when the cavalry appeared in that neighborhood, and they heard that they were looking for the assassins, that they sent word to them that these two men were on the place. In other words, they assert that they are entirely innocent of giving assassins any aid and comfort, knowing them to be such.
The Ida (tug boat) reached here about two o’clock last night with Harrold and the two young men above referred to as well as the body of Booth. Harrold was immediately placed in a safe place. He thus far, it is stated, has manifested no disposition to speak of the affair, but as he was known as a very talkative young man, he may soon resume the use of his tongue.
Booth and Harrold were dressed in Confederate grey—new uniforms. Harrold was otherwise not disguised much. Booth’s moustache had been cut off, apparently with a scissors, and his beard allowed to grow, changing his appearance considerably. His hair had been cut somewhat shorter than he usually wore it.
Booth’s body, which we have above described, was at once laid out on a bench and a guard placed over it. The lips of the corpse are tightly compressed and the blood has settled in the lower part of the face and neck. Otherwise the face is pale and wears a wild, haggard look, indicating exposure to the elements and a rough time generally in his skulking flight.
His hair is disarranged and dirty, and apparently had not been combed since he took his flight. The head and breast is alone exposed to view, the lower portion of the body, including the hands and feet, being covered with a tarpaulin thrown over it.
The shot which terminated his accursed life entered on the left side at the back of the neck, a point, curiously enough, not far distant from that in which his victim, our lamented President, was shot. No orders have yet been given as to what disposition will be made of the body.
Large numbers of persons have been seeking admission to the navy yard today to get a sight of the body, and to hear the particulars, and none excepting the workmen, the officers of the navy yard and those holding orders from the Department are allowed to enter.
A Spencer carbine, which Booth had with him in the barn at the time he was shot by Sergeant Corbett, and a large knife with blood on it supposed to be the one which Booth cut Major Rathbone with in the theatre box on the night of the murder of President Lincoln and which was found on Booth’s body, has been brought to the city. The carbine and knife are now in the possession of Colonel Baker at his office.
The bills of exchange, which are for a considerable amount, found on Booth’s person, were drawn on banks in Canada in October last. About that time Booth was known to have been in Canada.
It is now thought that Booth’s leg was fractured in jumping from the box in Ford’s Theatre upon the stage, and not by the falling of his horse while endeavoring to make his escape, as was at first supposed.
The detachment of the 16th New York Cavalry, under Lieutenant Dougherty, numbering twenty-eight men, and accompanied by two of Col. Baker’s detective force, which went down the river on Monday, obtained the first news of Booth at Port Royal, Tuesday evening, from an old man, who stated that four men, in company with a Rebel Captain had crossed the Rappahannock a short time previous, going in the direction of Bowling Green, and added that the Captain would probably be found at that place as he was courting a young lady there.
Pushing on to Bowling Green, the Captain was found at the hotel, and taken into custody. From him it was ascertained that Booth and Harrold were at the House of John and William Garrett, three miles back towards Port Royal, and about a quarter of a mile from the road passed over by the cavalry. In the meantime it appears that Booth and Harrold had applied to Garrett for horses to ride to Louisa Court House, but the latter fearing the horses would not be returned, refused to hire them, notwithstanding the large sums offered.
The recriminations of Booth and Harrold, each charging the other with the responsibility of their difficulties, had also aroused the suspicions of the Garrett brothers, who urged Booth and Harrold to leave lest they (Garrets) should get into trouble with our cavalry. This Booth refused to do without a horse, and the two men retired to the barn, which after they had entered, Garrett locked, remaining on guard himself in a neighboring corn crib, as he alleges, to prevent their horses from being taken and ridden off in the night by Booth and Harrold.
Upon hte approach of our cavalry from Bowling Green about three o’clock Wednesday morning, the Garretts came out of the corn crib to meet them, and in answer to their inquiries directed them to the barn.
Booth was at once summoned to surrender, but refused. Harrold expressed a willingness to give himself up, but was overruled by Booth for some time, finally, however, surrendering, leaving Booth in the barn. The latter, assuming a defiant air, called out to know the commanding officer, and proposed to him that the men should be drawn up at fifty yards distance, when he would come out and fight them.
After the barn had been burning three-quarters of an hour, and the roof was about to fall in, Booth, who had been standing with a revolver in one hand, and a carbine resting on the floor, made a demonstration as if to break through the guard and escape. To prevent this, Sergeant Corbett fired, intending to hit Booth in the shoulder, so as to cripple him, the ball, however, striking a little too high, entering the neck and resulting fatally, as before stated.
Booth had in his possession the short heavy bowie knife with which he struck Major Rathbone, a Spencer carbine, a seven-shooter, of Massachusetts manufacture, three revolvers and a pocket pistol. He wore in addition to his suit of gray, an ordinary cloth cap, a heavy high topped cavalry boot on his right foot, with the top turned down, and a Government shoe on his left foot.
No clue could be obtained to the other two men, and taking the two Garretts into custody, the command immediately set out for Washington, after releasing the Captain.
Lieutenant Dougherty, who commanded the squadron, entered the service with the 71st New York militia, which, it will be remembered, was quartered in the navy yard here for some time. After participating in the first battle of Bull Run, he joined the Berdan Sharpshooters, and afterwards entered the 16th New York Cavalry, in which regiment he at different times distinguished himself, particularly at Culpeper last fall, where with a handful of men, he cut his way through Kershaw’s Rebel Brigade.
Sergeant Corbett, who shot Booth, was baptized in Boston about seven years ago, at which time he assumed the name of Boston Corbett. Week ago last Sunday he participated in the religious services at McKendree Chapel, petitioning in his prayer for the early punishment of the assassin of President Lincoln. Today he has been greatly lionized, and on the street was repeatedly surrounded by citizens, who occasionally manifested their appreciation by loud cheers.
The two Garretts are dressed in Rebel gray, having belonged to Lee’s army, and just returned home on parole. They profess to have been entirely ignorant of the character of Booth and Harrold, and manifest great uneasiness concerning their connection with the affair.
Booth and Harrold made a narrow escape from being captured on this side of the Potomac. Marshal Murray and a posse of New York detectives tracked them to within a short distance of Swan Point, but the Marshal being unacquainted with the country, and without a guide during the darkness of the night, took the wrong road, and before he could regain the trail, Booth and Harrold succeeded in crossing the river to the Virginia shore.
The report that Booth attempted to shoot himself while in the barn is incorrect. He, however, in his parley with his besiegers indicated that he would not be taken alive. His manner throughout was that of hardened desperation, knowing that his doom was sealed, and preferring to meet it there in that shape to the more ignominious death awaiting him if captured.
He appeared to pay little attention to the fire raging about him until the roof began to fall in, when he made a movement indicating a purpose to make the desperate attempt to cut his way out, and perhaps really hoped to succeed amid the smoke and confusion. It was this movement on his part that seems to have caused Corbett to fire the fatal shot.
Harrold before leaving the barn laid down his pistol, which was immediately picked up by Booth, who had it in his hand at the time he was shot.
Boston Corbett, who killed Booth, is said to be a man of deep religious feeling, who has at prayer meetings lately prayed fervently that the assassin of the late President might be brought to justice. It is said, also, that in pulling the trigger upon Booth he sent up an audible petition for the soul of the criminal. The pistol used by Corbett was the regular large sized cavalry pistol. He was offered one thousand dollars this morning for the pistol with its five un-discharged loads.
This afternoon Surgeon General Barnes, with an assistant, held an autopsy on the body of Booth.
It now appears that Booth and Harrold had on clothes which were originally some other color than the Confederate gray, but being faded and dusty, presented that appearance.
The Lincoln Commemorative Silver Dollar Coin shows with an image of Sergeant Boston Corbett, 1865.