Escape Routes
Escape Routes / JWB
In Escape Routes / JWB, I retrace the escape route of John Wilkes Booth, as he fled from assassinating Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC to his death in confrontation with Union soldiers near Port Royal, Virginia. During Booth’s 12-day and approximately 75 mile flight, he struggled to understand why he was not greeted as a liberator and war hero. 

Tracing Booth’s route 150 years later is now a mixture of urban living, declining suburbs, new housing developments, rural pockets of country living, and highway commuter culture. I hope to convey fragments of the complexity of contemporary life in the United States.
Surratt House Guestbook, Clinton, MD, 2012
Surratt House Parking Lot, Clinton, MD, 2012
Turnabout, Brandywine Road, Clinton, MD, 2012
Citgo Lube, Clinton, MD, 2012
Miller’s Field, Boys & Girls Club, Clinton, MD
Backyard Swimming Pool, Clinton, MD, 2012
American Legion Post 259, Clinton, MD, 2012
Shirtan Shopping Center, Clinton, MD, 2102
Remote Starter Shop (Jesus is Lord), Clinton, MD, 2012
Free Vacuums, Clinton, MD, 2012
School Bus Depot, Clinton, MD, 2012
Laundro Mat (Jesus is Lord), Clinton, MD, 2012
Libation Court and Symposium Way, Clinton, MD 2012
Power Lines and Subdivision near Clinton, MD, 2012
Drainage Ditch near Clinton, MD, 2012
Training Exercise, Brandywine, MD, 2012
Gas Station, Waldorf, MD, 2012
Poplar Hill Road, Waldorf, MD, 2012
Condemned Building, near Bel Alton, MD, 2012
Marker, Death Site of John Wilkes Booth, near Port Royal, VA, 2012

Until today nothing was ever thought of sacrificing to our country's wrongs. For six months we had  worked to capture, but our cause being almost lost, something decisive and great must be done. But its failure was owing to others, who did not strike for their country with a heart. I struck boldly, and not as the papers say. I walked with a firm step through a thousand of his friends, was stopped, but pushed on.  A colonel was at his side. I shouted Sic semper before I fired. In jumping broke my leg. I passed all his pickets, rode sixty miles that night with the bone of my leg tearing the flesh at every jump. I can never repent it, though we hated to kill. Our country owed all her troubles to him, and God simply made me the instrument of his punishment. The country is not what it was. This forced Union is not what I have loved. I care not what becomes of me. I have no desire to outlive my country. The night before the deed I wrote a long article and left it for one of the editors of the National Intelligencer, in which I fully set forth our reasons for our proceedings. He or the gov'r-

After being hunted like a dog through swamps, woods, and last night being chased by gunboats till I was forced to return wet, cold, and starving, with every man's hand against me, I am here in despair. And  why? For doing what Brutus was honored for. What made Tell a hero? And yet I, for striking down a greater tyrant than they ever knew, am looked upon as a common cutthroat. My action was purer than either of theirs. One hoped to be great himself. The other had not only his country's but his own, wrongs to avenge. I hoped for no gain. I knew no private wrong. I struck for my country and that alone. A country that groaned beneath this tyranny, and prayed for this end, and yet now behold the cold hands they extend to me. God cannot pardon me if I have done wrong. Yet I cannot see my wrong, except in serving a degenerate people. The little, the very little, I left behind to clear my name, the Government will not allow to be printed. So ends all. For my country I have given up all that makes life sweet and holy, brought misery upon my family, and am sure there is no pardon in the Heaven for me, since man condemns me so. I have only heard of what has been done (except what I did myself), and it fills me with horror. God, try and forgive me, and bless my mother. Tonight I will once more try the river with the intent to cross. Though I have a greater desire and almost a mind to return to Washington, and in a measure clear my name - which I feel I can do. I do not repent the blow I struck. I may before my God,  but not to man. I think I have done well. Though I am abandoned, with the curse of Cain upon me,  when, if the world knew my heart, that one blow would have made me great, though I did desire no greatness. Tonight I try to escape these bloodhounds once more. Who, who can read his fate? God's will  be done. I have too great a soul to die like a criminal. Oh, may He, may He spare me that, and let me die bravely. I bless the entire world. Have never hated or wronged anyone. This last was not a wrong, unless God deems it so, and it's with Him to damn or bless me. As for this brave boy with me, who often prays (yes, before and since) with a true and sincere heart - was it crime in him? If so, why can he pray the same?
I do not wish to shed a drop of blood, but 'I must fight the course.' 'Tis all that's left to me. 
From John Wilkes Booth's pocket diary, carried on his person during his escape
Escape Routes

Escape Routes

In Escape Routes / JWB, I retrace the escape route of John Wilkes Booth, as he fled from assassinating Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC Read More
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