John Wilkes Booth: Chasing Lincoln’s Assassin
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.
Connect with a fascinating piece of American history at Tudor Hall in Bel Air, the childhood home of John Wilkes Booth. Scheduled tours make history come alive.
Waldorf to Popes Creek
23.5 miles including US 301 | Directions
Visit the 21-mile-long, half-mile-wide Zekiah Swamp, a protected state wetland area popular among canoeists and birders. Booth and Herold navigated through this swampy terrain on their way to the home of Samuel Cox, near the present-day town of Bel Alton.
To the west is one of the oldest communities on the East Coast, Port Tobacco. Formerly an Indian settlement, it became a major seaport in the 17th century. Visit a museum inside the Port Tobacco Courthouse to see archaeological finds and gather Civil War knowledge, including information about George Atzerodt, a Booth conspirator who was assigned to kill Vice President Andrew Johnson but lost his nerve.
Booth and Herold hid along Nanjemoy Creek before fleeing into Virginia. The creek still has plenty of natural charm as a nesting site for bald eagles and fishing hole for boaters who use the Friendship Landing ramp.
Across the Potomac River on April 26, Federal troops caught up with Booth and Herold at a Virginia farm. Herold surrendered, stood trial in Washington, D.C., and was hanged. Refusing to turn himself in, Booth was shot and killed while hiding in a barn. This byway is part of the Great Chesapeake Bay Loop and visits authentic Chesapeake sites.
Wear comfortable clothing and bring binoculars for bird-watching while hiking along trails and exploring wetlands. This byway is part of the Great Chesapeake Bay Loop.
Huckleberry Cottage, now a private home, was once where former Confederate agent Thomas A. Jones lived. Jones led John Wilkes Booth and fellow conspirator David Herold to the Potomac River on April 20, 1865 to flee to the Virginia shore.
Dr. Samuel Mudd first met John Wilkes Booth at St. Mary's Church in Bryantown on November 13, 1864. Dr. Mudd is buried here.
On the edge of the Potomac River near Washington, D.C., the urban-waterfront destination known as National Harbor features upscale shops, luxury accommodations and late-night entertainment.
John Wilkes Booth was born on a farm near Bel Air, Md. One of his older brothers, famed Shakespearean actor Edwin Booth, reportedly saved President Lincoln’s son Robert from falling into the path of a train several months prior to the president’s assassination.