Edward Paul Doherty signs a Certificate of Discharge for a Soldier in his company. He was a Canadian-American American Civil War officer who led the detachment that captured and killed John Wilkes Booth, the in a Virginia barn on April 26, 1865, twelve days after Booth had fatally shot Lincoln.
Ink writing excellent; folds with pin-hole at intersect; Oath of Identity on verso not accomplished.
Doherty, Edward Paul. Partly Printed Document, Signed “Edward P. Doherty / Capt. Co. “H” Prov. NY Cav.” and accomplished in manuscript. Washington, DC: 21 September 1865. A certificate of Discharge for Charles Green, of his company. 4to.; 1p.; patriotic eagle image.
Pursuit and Capture of John Wilkes Booth
On April 24, 1865, 10 days after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Acting Assistant Adjunct General A. R. Sewell sent an order to the Commander of the 16th New York Cavalry, Captain Joseph Schneider, to assign a reliable and discreet commissioned officer with 25 men to report to Colonel L. C. Baker at once. Captain Schneider then chose Lieutenant Edward Doherty to lead the group and Doherty reported to Colonel Lafayette C. Baker, Agent of the Department of War. Doherty and his men were to hunt down John Wilkes Booth and any co-conspirators. Two days later, the men of the 16th NY Cavalry Regiment, accompanied by two detectives of the intelligence service, Luther Baker, cousin of Lafayette C. Baker, and Everton J. Conger, caught up with Booth and his accomplice David E. Herold in a tobacco barn near Port Royal, Virginia, owned by Richard H. Garrett. With the barn surrounded, Doherty called upon Booth to surrender, but Booth refused and threatened to shoot anyone who entered. His accomplice relented and as he surrendered to Doherty, Sargent Boston Corbett fatally shot Booth through a crack in the side of the barn as the assassin had been aiming to fire at Doherty or Herold. Doherty stated that “the bullet struck Booth in the back of the head, about an inch below the spot where his shot had entered the head of Mr. Lincoln.” Booth’s spinal cord was severed, and he died two hours later. Doherty and the men of his regiment returned to Washington, DC, on April 27, 1865 with Booth’s body.
Doherty went on to become a captain in the Corcoran Legion, formed by fellow prisoner at the First Battle of Bull Run, Irish-American General Michael Corcoran, who was a close confidant of Abraham Lincoln. Doherty served for two years, before being appointed First Lieutenant in the 16th New York Cavalry on September 12, 1863. The regiment was assigned to the defense of Washington, DC, for the duration of the war, where Doherty distinguished himself as an officer.
For his service in the capture of Abraham Lincoln’s assassin, Doherty was promoted to captain and was given a $5,250 reward (the largest of any!).
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