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Planning the Capture of Booth

Artist:
Alexander Gardner (American, Glasgow, Scotland 1821–1882 Washington, D.C.)
Date:
1865
Medium:
Albumen silver print from glass negative
Dimensions:
Image: 27.1 × 24.5 cm (10 11/16 × 9 5/8 in.)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Gilman Collection, Purchase, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee Gift, 2005
Accession Number:
2005.100.1223
Not on view
Alexander Gardner’s long-term relationship with the federal government and the Army of the Potomac gave him unparalleled access to subjects other photographers could not attain, especially in the days following John Wilkes Booth’s assassination of the president. Here, Secret Service Director Colonel Lafayette Baker sits and studies maps of the area where Booth was believed to be hiding in Maryland or Virginia. The portrait, in wood-engraving form, illustrates a long article published by Harper’s Weekly on May 13, 1865. According to the news story, government agents found Booth in a barn near Port Royal, Virginia, and demanded that he surrender. He refused, and when they warned him that soldiers would set fire to the barn, Booth responded: “Well then, my brave boys, prepare a stretcher for me.” Booth was shot as he attempted to escape the conflagration and died three hours later.
Inscription: Descriptive with small drawing in pencil on verso
Alfred R. Waud, to his descendents; [Rinhart Galleries, Inc., Colebrook, CT]; Gilman Paper Company Collection, November 5, 1981

Colonel Lafayette C. Baker, Chief of Secret Service (seated), Lieutenant Luther B. Baker (left), and Colonel Everton J. Conger (right). Reproduced as a woodcut in Harper's Weekly, May 13, 1865. See 2005.100.1224.
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