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The Garrett Farm

Cornered and Killed


The Garrett Farm

Site of the Garrett Farmhouse and Barn

Photograph © 2008 C.K. Hickman

Riding towards Bowling Green, the four men stopped at a tavern known as the The Trappe before continuing on to town where they entered the Star Hotel. This establishment was a favorite of Jett as he was courting the owner's daughter, Izora Gouldman. While Jett and Ruggles spent the night of April 24 at the hotel, Bainbridge and Herold slept at the nearby farm of Joseph Clarke. In the morning, Ruggles and Bainbridge took Herold back to the Garrett Farm. Riding north, the two former Confederate soldiers spotted Union cavalry in Port Royal. After returning to the farm to warn Booth and Herold, they fled east.

The cavalry in question was a detachment of the 16th New York Cavalry led by Lieutenant Edward Doherty which had been dispatched to the area the day before. On the afternoon of April 24, Colonel Lafayette Baker, an agent of the War Department, saw a telegram from Port Tobacco, MD stating that Booth and Herold may have crossed the Potomac on April 16. The two men mentioned in the telegram were actually Harbin and his accomplice Joseph Baden. Accompanied by Luther Baker, a detective on Col. Baker's staff, and Lieutenant Colonel Everton Conger, Doherty's men boarded the steamer John S. Ide around dark. The combined party landed at Belle Plaine around 10:00 PM and began canvassing the countryside. Reaching Port Conway early on the afternoon of April 25, they were informed by Dick Wilson, a free black who worked with William Rollins, that Booth and Herold had passed through the day before heading south. A further conversation with Rollins and his wife informed them about Jett and his friends, as well as the fact that they were probably heading towards the Star Hotel in Bowling Green.

Crossing the river on the evening of the 25th with Rollins as their guide, Doherty's men searched The Trappe and later captured Jett at the Star Hotel. Having been warned of the cavalry's approach, Booth and Herold hid in the woods near the farm. Returning, they were informed by Garrett that they were no longer welcome in the house, but could stay in the tobacco barn. At the hotel, Jett, with a gun to his head, confessed that Booth had been left at the Garrett Farm. Taking Jett, Doherty's men retraced their steps towards the farm, arriving around 2:00 AM on April 26. Surrounding the house, Doherty, Luther Baker, and Conger pounded on the door. When Garrett answered he was threatened into revealing the location of Booth and Herold.

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