Edward P. Doherty of Canada
Appointed from New York, Private, Company
A, 71st New York State Militia, 20 April to 9 August 1861
First Lieutenant, 16th New York Cavalry, 12
Captain, 23 April 1865
Transferred to the 3rd Provisional New York
Cavalry, 23 June 1865
Honorably mustered out, 21 September 1865
Second Lieutenant, 5th U. S. Cavalry, 19 April
First Cavalry, 1 March 1867
Mustered our, 27 December 1870
Died 3 April 1897
His private memorial in Section 1 of Arlington
National Cemetery reads:
of three officers in command of the troops that pursued and killed
Wilkes Booth after the killing of Abraham Lincoln."
He was born in 1840 and was serving with the
16th New York Volunteer Cavalry in 1865 when his unit was selected for
the pursuit of John Wilkes Booth.
He died in 1897 and was buried in Section 1
of Arlington National Cemetery.
HDQRS. DETACHMENT SIXTEENTH NEW YORK CAVALRY,
Washington, D.C., April 29, 1865.
Lieut. Col. J. H. TAYLOR,
Asst. Adjt. Gets. and Chief of Staff, Dept.
I have the honor to report that on Monday, April 24, 1865, I received the
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF WASHINGTON, TWENTY-SECOND
April 24, 1865.
COMMANDING OFFICER DETACHMENT SIXTEENTH NEW
major-general commanding directs that you detail twenty-five men, well
mounted, to be commanded by a reliable and discreet commissioned officer,
to report at once to Col. L. C. Baker, Special Agent, War Department, 217
Pennsylvania avenue, opposite Willard's Hotel. Report your action.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. R. SEWALL,
Lieutenant and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS DETACHMENT SIXTEENTH NEW YORK
Washington, D.C., April 24, 1865.
Lieut. E. P. DOHERTY,
Sixteenth New York Cavalry:
are hereby detailed for the duty specified in the preceding order, and
will report immediately to Col. L. C. Baker for instructions.
Captain, Sixteenth New York Cavalry, Commanding
to the foregoing orders I reported to Colonel Baker, at the time and place
specified, and received the following information and instructions. He
informed me that he had reliable information that the assassin Booth and
his accomplice were somewhere between the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers.
He gave me several photographs of Booth and introduced me to Mr. Conger
and Mr. Baker, and said they would accompany me. He directed me to scour
the section of the country indicated thoroughly, to make my own disposition
of the men in my command, to forage upon the country, giving receipts for
what was taken from loyal parties, and to land at or near Belie Plain at
all hazards, to swim my horses ashore if I could not and otherwise, and
return when I thought proper. I embarked upon the steamer John S. Ide,
at Sixth-street wharf, this vessel having been plated at my disposal by
the following order:
ASSISTANT QUARTERMASTER'S OFFICE, RIVER TRANSPORTATION,
Sixth-Street Wharf, Washington, D.C., April
CAPTAIN OF STEAMER JOHN S. IDE:
SIR: Having received on board twenty-five men
and horses, proceed down the river, subject to the orders of the officer
in charge; having performed the duties required of you, return to this
city and report to me.
E. S. ALLEN,
Captain and Assistant Quartermaster.
proceeded down the river to Belle Plain, and having landed my force I issued
the following order to the captain commanding the vessel:
HEADQUARTERS DETACHMENT SIXTEENTH NEW YORK
Off Belle Plain, Va., April 24, 1865.
Capt. H. WILSON,
Commanding Steamer John S. Ide:
CAPTAIN: You will please moor off, after landing
my command, to a place of safe anchorage, not to exceed one mile from this
place, and there await further orders. Should you not receive a dispatch
from me before the 26th instant at 6 p.m. return to Washington. Should
you see any of the enemy's force report the fact to the gunboat. Forage
will remain on board your boat.
E. P. DOHERTY,
First Lieutenant, Sixteenth New York Cavalry,
proceeded in the direction of Fredericksburg, and after advancing about
three miles I turned southwest and struck the Rappahannock River about
twelve miles above Port Conway, 6 a.m. There I met two fishermen, who informed
me of a member of surgeons living in the vicinity, and having previously
learned the fact that Booth was crippled I deemed it proper to visit the
different surgeons and search their premises, making such inquiries and
examinations as were thought necessary; this being accomplished, and, finding
no traces of the assassin or his accomplice, Mr. Conger requested me to
furnish him four men and a corporal, which I did, and he moved down the
Rappahannock, following its course. I then marched with the remainder of
my command, making a detour of some fifteen miles by the way of King George
Court-House, forming a junction with Mr. Conger at Conway's Ferry at 2
to this time we had found no trace of the assassin or his accomplice. I
then stopped to feed. It was thought by the detectives that we would not
find any traces of the assassins. After feeling, however, I determined
to push across the ferry; Mr. Conger, one of the detectives, remained at
the house. Mr. Baker, the other detective, accompanied me to the ferry,
where I met a negro, who informed me that men answering the description
crossed the day before, and that one of them had been into Mr. Roland's
house. Mr. Baker, and myself proceeded to the house of Mr. Roland, and
there, after exhibiting the photographs, we concluded that we were on their
track. I dispatched three men in a small boat to bring over a scow, which
was on other side of the Rappahannock River; I also dispatched one man
to inform Mr. Conger that we had track of the assassins, and to come down
immediately. Mr. Rollins, at the ferry, informed me that two men were brought
there from Mathias Point by a negro, to whom they had paid $15, and wanted
to engage him, Rollins, to take them to Orange Court-House; that he refused
to go so far, but they engaged him to take them to Bowling Green for $10;
that these men showed great anxiety to get across the river, and wished
him (Mr. Rollins) to use his small boat, and they would pay him extra;
that Herold told him that they were brothers, and that Booth was wounded
at Petersburg; that he refused his small boat for the reason he was using
it putting out his fishing net; that, at about this time, three Confederate
soldiers came up and shook hands with one of them. Herold then came to
the house and apologized for not taking the horse and wagon, and said he
had met an old schoolmate, and that they were going to ride in "twain."
Mrs. Ro11ins said the three soldiers were Capt. Willie Jett, Lieutenants
Ruggles and Bainbridge; that Captain Jett was courting a young lady by
the name of Goldman, whose father kept a hotel at Bowling Green. In the
meantime the horses and men were being ferried across as rapidly as possible.
At 6 p.m. my whole command was across, and I moved on toward Bowling Green.
On the road, absent three miles from Port Royal, I met a negro on horseback;
not, wishing to lose time I rode ahead of the column and directed the negro
to turn back and ride beside myself. I learned from him that the party
that we were in quest of had all returned except Capt. Willie Jett (rebel).
Proceeding along we arrived at a house seven miles from Bowling Green.
I learned here that some of Mosby's men had been along the day before and
taken three horses from three Yankee soldiers. Messrs. Conger and Baker
entered the house and were informed that the party who had passed there
the previous day had all returned except Captain Jett. The house of Mrs.
Clark, some four miles distant, was spoken of as a place where some of
the party might be. I determined, however, to push on to Bowling Green
and secure the said Captain Jett. Arriving within about half a mile of
the town I dismounted ten men, who were ordered to accompany Mr. Baker
into the town. Mr. Conger, Rollins (the guide), and myself rode ahead and
surrounded the house; the dismounted men shortly afterward arrived and
surrounded the house and outhouses; this was about 12 o'clock midnight
knocked about fifteen minutes at each door without receiving and reply;
at length a negro appeared on the street who showed the way to the negro
house in rear, and on entering I asked a negro where Willie was, meaning
Captain Jett; he replied that he was in bed. Conger inquired where the
room was, &c. In a few moments Mrs. Goldman opened the door, and we
asked for her son; she showed us up stairs, and we found Jett and her son
in bed, partly undressed. We took Jett down stairs and informed him our
business, telling him that if he did not forthwith inform us where the
men were he should suffer; that no parley would be taken, &c. He requested
that two of the party withdraw and leave him with one, and he would make
a full statement of what he knew of the assassin's whereabouts. This was
granted. Mr. Baker and myself had scarcely left the room when he told Mr.
Conger that he would show us the place. On learning this I took him in
my own charge. His horse was got out, he was mounted, and we went back
to the house of Mr. Garrett, about twelve miles from Bowling Green. I ordered
my command to surround the house, and, as a precautionary measure, sent
six men in rear of the barn and outbuildings. While I was placing my men
around the buildings the detectives knocked at the door, which was opened
by the elder Mr. Garrett, who was much excited; he said the men who had
been there went to the woods the previous evening. While engaged in conversation
the son of Mr. Garrett came in, advising the father to tell where they
were. I seized this man by the collar, and pulled him out of the door and
down the steps, put my revolver to his head and told him to tell me at
once where the two assassins were; he replied, "in the barn." I said "show
me the barn." We started on the run for the barn, I holding him by the
collar, calling on my men to follow me and surround more closely the building
I should indicate. In the meantime another of the Garrett sons appeared,
who was seized by one of the detectives and ordered to get a candle. He
immediately procured a candle. On arriving at the barn I left the Garrett
I had in charge with some of my men, and posted my men around the barn.
This accomplished, I returned to the front of the barn, and found Garrett
coming out of the barn; it appears that he had been sent in there during
my absence to summon Booth to surrender. This I disapproved, as there were
soldiers enough there to perform such duty. Booth, however, refused to
surrender. The detectives were in favor of firing the barn, which I opposed,
declaring my intention to wait until daylight and I would send my men through
the four different doors and overpower the assassin, but after consultation
the project of burning the building was abandoned for the time being. In
the meantime considerable conversation took place concerning the surrender
of Booth between Mr. Baker, myself, and the assassin. Sergt. Boston Corbett,
Company L, Sixteenth New York Cavalry asked permission to enter the barn
alone, which I refused. Booth all this time was very defiant and refused
to surrender. At one time he said if we would draw up in line fifty paces
off he would come out, adding that he was lame and had only one leg. This,
however, I refused. Booth up to this time had denied there was anyone in
the barn besides himself. Considerable conversation now took place between
myself, Booth, and the detectives. We threatened to burn the barn if he
did not surrender; at one time gave him ten minutes to make up his mind.
Finally, Booth said, "Oh; Captain, there is a man here who wants to surrender
awful bad:" I answered, and I think Mr. Baker did at the same time, "Hand
out your arms." Herold replied, "I have none." Baker said, "We know exactly
what you have got." Booth replied, "I own all the arms, and intend to use
them on you gentlemen." After some little parley I said, "Let him out."
Some one objected. I ordered Garrett, the younger son, who had the key,
to unlock the barn, which he did. I partially opened the door, and told
Herold to put out his hand, which he did. I then told him to put [out]
his other hand. I took hold of both his wrists and pulled him out of the
barn. Almost simultaneous with my taking Herold out of the barn the hay
in the rear of the barn was ignited by Mr. Conger, and the barn fired.
Sergt. Boston Corbett, Company L, Sixteenth New York Cavalry, shot the
assassin Booth, wounding him in the neck. I entered the barn as soon as
the shot was fired, dragging Herold with me, and found that Booth had fallen
on his back. Messrs. Conger and Baker, with some of my men, entered the
barn and took hold of Booth. I proceeded with Herold to find a rope to
secure him, there being no irons for that purpose. The assassin Booth lived
about two hours. In the meantime a doctor was procured, who remained with
Booth till he died. I procured a wagon, sewed up the body in a blanket
myself, and placed it in the wagon. I then proceeded to Port Royal, where
we arrived at 9 a.m. April 26, 1865, and crossed the river in a scow. While
crossing my command Mr. Baker, without authority, moved off with the body
of the assassin, taking with him the two men who had been previously detailed
as a guard to the body, also one of the prisoners (Captain Jett, rebel).
I was some time crossing my command, and experienced some difficulty in
bringing Herold and the two Garretts along, having only one horse to mount
the three; thus delay was occasioned. After proceeding some distance I
procured an additional horse. Fearing some accident might happen to the
body of the assassin and the prisoner Jett, whom Mr. Baker had taken with
him. I dispatched an orderly to tell Mr. Baker to halt. The orderly rode
over four miles at full speed, when, overtaking Mr. Baker, he told him
to halt until the column came up. This Mr. Baker, however, did not do,
but continued on missing me and the road. I arrived at Belle Plain at 6
p.m., and found the corpse had not yet arrived. I felt great anxiety, and
was about to apply to Major Bosworth, Sixteenth New York Cavalry, who was
at Belle Plain with his command, for a detachment of men to go in search
of the body, when Mr. Baker arrived. I immediately asked him where the
prisoner, Captain Jett, was. He replied, "he did not know; he had escaped."
After a short delay the body of the assassin Booth was placed on board
the steamer John S. Ide, and we proceeded to Washington, where I delivered
over the body of Booth, Herold, and the two Garretts to Col. L. C. Baker,
at 3 a.m. the 27th day of April, 1865.
The command consisted of twenty-six enlisted
men of the Sixteenth New York Cavalry, and myself, the two gentlemen, Messrs.
Conger and Baker, sent by Colonel Baker, making a total in all of twenty-nine
men. I would say that great credit is due to all concerned for the fortitude
and eagerness they displayed in pursuing and arresting the murderers. For
nearly sixty hours hardly an eye was closed or a horse dismounted until
the errand was accomplished. I would call the attention of the commanding
general to the efficiency of Sergt. Boston Corbett, Company I,, Sixteenth
New York Cavalry, who was untiring in his efforts to bring the murderers
to justice. His soldierly qualifications have been tested before this occasion,
and, in my judgment, are second to none in the service. Mr. Rollins, at
Port Conway, is also worthy of notice for his willingness to impart all
the information he possessed. In conclusion I beg to state that it has
afforded my command and myself inexpressible pleasure to be the humble
instruments of capturing the foul assassins who caused the death of our
beloved President and plunged the nation in mourning.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
EDWARD P. DOHERTY,
First Lieut., Sixteenth New York Cavalry,
E. P. DOHERTY PASSES AWAY
He Commanded The Men Who Hunted Down The Assassin
Of Abraham Lincoln
April 4, 1897
Edward P. Doherty, General Inspector of Street
Paving, died of heart disease yesterday morning at his home, 533 West One
Hundred and Forty-fourth Street. The funeral services will be held
tomorrow at 10 o'clock at the Chichi of St. Charles Boromeo, One Hundred
and Thirty-second Street and Seventh Avenue. The interment will be in the
Arlington National Cemetery.
Edward Paul Doherty was born fifty-six years
ago in Canada. He came to New York in 1860 and enlisted as a Private
in the Seventy-first New York Volunteers. He was captured by the
Confederates during the first battle of Bull Run. He was held a prisoner
for two months, when he made a daring attempt to escape. He was made a
Captain in the Corcoran Legion, in which he served for two years, when
he was appointed Captain in the Sixteenth New York Cavalry. He distinguished
himself as a Cavalry officer.
On the night of the assassination of President
Lincoln, Captain Doherty was sent out in command of fifty men to capture
Booth and his colleague, David Harrold. The cavalrymen finally traced
the fugitives to a barn, when Captain Doherty, after stationing his men
around the building, called upon Booth to surrender. The latter replied
that he would not surrender, but that his companion would. Harrold was
told to come to the door and put his hands out. When he did so, he
was pulled out and Captain Doherty sprang into the barn to seize Booth.
As he did so the latter raised a gun and Sergeant Boston Corbett,
who was looking through a knothole, shot the assassin.
For this service, Captain Doherty was appointed
a First Lieutenant in the Fifth Regular Cavalry. He served for a time as
Inspector General of the Department of Georgia under General Meade.
In 1871 he resigned from the Army and went into businessin New Orleans.
He returned to New York in 1886. In 1888 he was appointed Inspector
of Street Pavings, which position he held until his death.
He was Past Commander of Veteran Post Numner
436, G. A. R.; a member of the Seventy-first Regiment Veterans, and also
of the Press Veterans. He had on two occasions been Grand Marshal
in Memorial Day celebrations.
Photos Courtesy Of The National
photos courtesy of Ron Williams
Photo By: M. R. Patterson, July
DOHERTY, EDWARD P
CAPT LIEUT 15TH NY CAV 5TH US CAV
DATE OF DEATH: 04/03/1897
BURIED AT: SITE LOT 690
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
DOHERTY, CATHERINE, J WID OF DOHERTY, EDWARD
DATE OF DEATH: 02/22/1921
BURIED AT: SECTION W SITE LOT 680
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
WIFE OF EP DOHERTY, CAPT 1ST LT 161ST NY CAV
5TH US CAV
Updated: 18 November 2000 Updated:
30 January 2001 Updated: 7 July 2002 Updated: 31 August 2002 Updated:
14 July 2003
Updated: 18 September 2005 Updated;
6 August 2006 Updated: 14 July 2007 Updated: 8 August 2007 Updated: 16