John Wilkes Booth caught and killed in Caroline County
Caroline County also contains several links to another important Civil War figure – John Wilkes Booth,
who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. Booth, on the run after the assassination, was tracked to Caroline County, cornered by Union forces, and shot and killed.
A Civil War Trails marker stands next to the historic Brockenbrough Peyton House in Port Royal near the Rappahannock River and depicts its connection to Booth. Sarah Jane Peyton lived in the home during the Civil War, and she was home when three Confederate soldiers brought Booth and his accomplice, David Herold, to the home. She admitted the men but soon directed them to the nearby Garrett Farm, saying it would improper for them to stay since the man of the house – her brother, Randolph – was not at home.
The town of Bowling Green contains two Civil War Trails markers on its historic courthouse square, including one with another link to Booth. One marker features the Star Hotel, which was a notorious headquarters for Confederate spies and was a safe haven for those who aided Booth. Bricks from the original hotel were used to construct a building now standing adjacent to courthouse square.
Finally, an historical marker signals travelers along U.S. 301 of the location of the Garrett farm, where Booth stayed two nights. Federal cavalry tracked him to the farm in the early morning hours of April 26, 1865. Booth and Herold were cornered in a tobacco barn, and Herold surrendered. The federals set the barn on fire, and Booth was shot as he tried to escape. He died later on the front porch of the Garrett home.