John Wilkes Booth - Escape, Death and Final Resting Place

John Wilkes Booth - Escape Route Geography American History American Presidents Famous Historical Events Social Studies

Riding a very fast roan mare, which he'd rented earlier in the day, John Wilkes Booth escaped from Ford's Theatre immediately after shooting President Lincoln.

A stagehand reportedly heard the actor mumble, under his breath:  "I have done it!"

Meeting up with David Herold, Booth then rode to Surrattsville.  He arrived at the Surratt's tavern around midnight, on the 14th of April, 1865.  It was there—according to the testimony of Mary Surratt's tenant, John Lloyd—that the two men picked-up field glasses, whiskey and a carbine.

This drawing—from the National Park Service—depicts Booth's escape route, from start to end.

Booth was on the run for 12 days. After hiding-out for a bit more than a week, until he thought his chances of crossing the river were better, Booth crossed the Potomac into Virginia.

He crossed another river—the Rappahannock—on April 24th. From there he made his way to the farm of Richard Garrett (near Port Royal Virginia). He was inside the barn, at the Garrett Farm, when agents caught up with him.

After he was fatally shot by Sgt. Boston Corbett, Booth died on the porch of the Garrett residence.

What happened to his body? The National Park Service answers that question:

His body was brought back to the Washington Navy Yard [where it was delivered to the Monitor Montauk at 1:45 A.M. on Thursday, April 27th], identified, and buried beneath a cell [depicted in a sketch contained in Lafayette C. Baker's History of the United States Secret Service, facing page 508] in the penitentiary at the Arsenal grounds [now Fort Lesley J. McNair] on April 27, where it remained until October 1, 1867, when it was removed to the nearby Arsenal warehouse. In February 1869, his body was released to his family.


Where are Booth’s remains now? Other than a few missing body parts, Lincoln’s assassin rests in an unmarked grave at Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland. It is the place where his mother wanted him to be buried, once her son’s corpse was finally released to the Booth family.

What are the missing body parts (and where are they located)?

  • Booth’s 3rd, 4th and 5th cervical vertebrae are maintained at the National Museum of Health and Medicine. They were removed during his autopsy.
  • A tissue fragment, also removed during Booth’s autopsy, is maintained in Philadelphia at the Mütter Medical Museum of the College of Physicians.

Because Booth’s grave is unmarked, cemetery sextons cannot confirm a rumor that the bodies of three infant siblings were buried on top of Booth’s coffin.

Click on the image for a better view.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Sep 04, 2017

Updated Last Revision: Sep 04, 2017

Media Credits

Image of Booth's escape route, online courtesy National Park Service.


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"John Wilkes Booth - Escape, Death and Final Resting Place" AwesomeStories.com. Sep 04, 2017. Jan 20, 2020.
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