Chasing Lincoln’s Killer


James L. Swanson

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Chasing Lincoln’s Killer: Chapter 12 Summary & Analysis

Lieutenant Doherty sewed Booth’s corpse into a blanket and put it into a wagon for transfer back to Washington. Conger rode ahead, hoping to be the first to tell Stanton the news that Booth was dead. In Washington, Conger and Baker presented Stanton with Booth’s compass and diary. Stanton made sure the body was Booth’s. He ordered an autopsy and an inquest. He also had a few people identify the corpse.
Although Booth was dead, investigators would still seek to learn as much as possible from his personal affects, especially his diary. They wanted to make sure all of Booth’s accomplices were punished.
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Newspapers were filled with detailed stories about the climactic moments at Garrett’s farm. Reporters also sought to cover the story of Booth’s burial, but Luther Baker prevented this. He staged a fake “burial at sea,” then buried Booth in a plain crate at Old Arsenal Penitentiary. The grave was unmarked.
To keep Booth from being seen as a martyr, the authorities prevented people from attending the burial. Otherwise, Confederate sympathizers might have used mementos of Booth’s life to preserve his memory just as Lincoln’s supporters did.
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