Booth's Escape

Follow the escape route of John Wilkes Booth, one of history’s most notorious assassins, as he fled from Washington, D.C., and hid for several days in Southern Maryland before being cornered.

The Civil War was coming to an end and hopes were high that the mending of America could quickly get under way. But on the night of April 14, 1865, thoughts of reconciliation suffered a serious setback. John Wilkes Booth, a Maryland-born actor and Confederate sympathizer, shot President Abraham Lincoln in Washington, D.C. He then fled into Maryland and eluded Federal troops for nearly two weeks.

Washington, D.C., to Waldorf

30 miles including MD 5 & MD 205 | Directions

At Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., Booth snuck into the president’s box, shot Lincoln and then leapt dramatically onto the stage, breaking his leg but managing to escape. While the president’s body was moved across the street to Petersen’s Boarding House, Booth fled on horseback over the Navy Yard Bridge to rendezvous with accomplice David Herold.

Follow Booth and Herold to the town of Clinton, where they arrived at a tavern that Mary Surratt operated as a Confederate safe house. Today, the Surratt House Museum tells the tale of her role in the assassination plan and how she became the first woman to be executed by the U.S. government.

With fresh supplies, Booth and Herold quickly made their way to Dr. Samuel A. Mudd’s Waldorf home, now a popular museum stop. The country physician, apparently unaware of his patient’s role in Lincoln’s assassination, treated Booth’s broken leg —an act that would land Mudd in prison.

Continue south and visit St. Mary’s Church and Cemetery, one of many historic places of worship in Southern Maryland. It is Mudd’s final resting place.

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