Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Documentary Movie Review: The Hunt for Lincoln's Assassin

"The Hunt for Lincoln's Assassin" is a made-for-TV movie by National Geographic reenacted documentary for the hunt for John Wilkes Booth.  The methods used our interview with historians and authors, including one who wrote the biography of John Wilkes Booth.  It also employs a few pictures, but for the most part it employs historical reenactment with narration.  Booth was not captured until a couple of weeks after the assassination.  He likely would have gotten away, but his ability to travel quickly was hampered by his broken leg which he suffered when he jump from Lincoln's booth to the stage of Ford's theater. They escaped from Washington D.C. into Maryland, before authorities could seal off the city.  Booth's escape then took him to the home of Dr. Mudd, who determined his leg was broken and put it in a splint and also provided crutches.  He traveled with David Herald.
Secretary of War Edwin Stanton lead the search for Booth.  He offered 100,000 reward to those helping in his capture.  He also appointed detective Colonel to Lafayette Baker to the lead the pursuit.  Everton Conger lead a party of 25 men who headed the investigation and pursuit. 
This documentary points out the mood of the country as a result of the assassination was one of revenge against southerners.  Many were killed or persecuted in the pursuit, and as well as a result of a general feeling of animosity.
Booth was able to finally make it into Virginia.  This was on their second attempt.  The first attempt the became confused in the fog and ended up landing again in Maryland.
A report in error of Booth and Herald crossing the Potomac, but Conger and his men on the right track.  The report was actually a witness of someone other than Booth crossing the river, but even so, as Booth had in facgt crossed, it put them within three miles of Booth.
Booth and Herald were lead by returning Confederate soldiers to the Garrett farm.   They hid out there for several days, but when federal soldiers went by, and Booth hid in the forest the family determined something as not right.  They insisted they leave, but granted them one for night, insisting the sleep in the tobacco barn.  Conger heard of these soldiers, and was determined to interview on of them, Willie Jett.  Jett was able to guide them to the Garrett farm.  It was in this barn that Conger and his men found Booth.  Booth's traveling companion was allowed to come out and was captured.  Booth refused to leave the barn.  They set fire to his barn, and being able to see Booth in the flames, Sergeant Boston Corbett shot through the cracks between the barn plank, hitting Booth in the neck.  His spinal cord was severed, and he was paralyzed.  The soldiers brought him out of the barn, and he succumbed a couple hours later.  

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