Following the Escape Route: Dr Mudd’s to Oswell Swann’s

John Wilkes Booth and David E. Herold left the home of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd between 4:00 and 5:00 pm on the evening of April 15th, 1865.  At about 9:00 pm they arrived at the home of Oswell Swann.  The pair hired Swann to take them across the Zekiah Swamp to Rich Hill, and home of Confederate sympathizer, Samuel Cox.  Today, I attempted to walk the route that Booth and Herold took after departing Mudd’s until they showed up at Oswell Swann’s.  What followers are videos and pictures of that trip.  I hope you all enjoy following me as I walk in the footsteps of the assassin.

There are a total of 17 videos that I made to document my walk.

Part 1: Dr. Mudd’s House

Mudd House from the Path

Part 2: The Path Behind the Mudd House

The Path from the Mudd House

Part 3: Walking the Path

Part 4: The Path goes into the Swamp

Down into the Swamp

Part 5: Back tracking on the Path

The Path to the Mudd House

Part 6: Walking Away from the Mudd House

Mudd House Road Sign

Part 7: A Possible Oak Hill

Barn a Distance from Mudd House

Part 8: The Probable Oak Hill

Part 9: Electus Thomas’ Account

Part 10: The Road to Bryantown

Bryantown Road

Part 11: Gallant Green Road

Gallant Green and Aquasco Road

Part 12: Joseph Cantor’s Place

Joseph Cantor's lot

Part 13: Cracklingtown Road

Cracklingtown Road

Part 14: Oswell Swann’s Place

Oswell Swann's lot

Part 15: With Swann as their Guide

Part 16: The Road to Rich Hill

St. Mary's Church

Part 17: The End

So, two bottles of water, two granola bars, and two extra socks later, I completed the journey. In the end, my planned walk of 11.5 miles turned out to be about 13 miles or so. The following is a map showing my route with Point A being Dr. Mudd’s House, and Point B being St. Mary’s Church where I left my car.

Route 7-24-2013

The walk was fun but I have several giant blisters on my feet. I’m hobbling around the house now like an infirmed old man and I predict that may remain for a day or so. Next time, I’ll be sure to buy better shoes preferably with gel insoles.

As I said in the last video, I’m open to viewer ideas regarding my next trek. In the comment section below, feel free to give me your ideas for parts of the escape route I could recreate. Thank you all for your support and encouragement on my little walks. It really helps keep me motivated.

Dave Taylor

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 23 Comments

Post navigation

23 thoughts on “Following the Escape Route: Dr Mudd’s to Oswell Swann’s

  1. Hi, Dave–

    I salute your intrepid and fascinating gallivanting and can’t wait to watch the videos later this evening. One question: Did you encounter any snakes?

    Best regards–


    • Luckily no snakes, Jim. Lots of bugs near the swamp though. I also noticed lots of dead butterflies near the sides of the road. Apparently when they glance off the sides of cars, they fall off to the wayside. If I were a butterfly collector I would have brought home many new specimens.

  2. Richard Sloan

    Col. Oldroyd puts you to shame, I guess.. (Altho he did hurt his shoulder in a fall at Port Royal or COnway on hsi way backto D.C.) Seriously, that’s real dedication!

  3. Heath

    Great post!

  4. Rich smyth

    I told my wife I cannot take her to the movies tomorrow…I am busy.

    • …because you’re going to walk the escape route tomorrow or because you’re going to be too busy watching all my little movies?

  5. Wow, Dave! I love your blog and your passion and commitment to this subject. I love the little details you provide that bring the story to life. The videos were great, and I am going to put some thought into where you should go next:)

    • Thank you for the kinds words, Sarah. I really enjoy learning about the history of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, and being able to relive parts of it like this is a lot of fun. Above all, I love sharing my passion with others. Thanks for reading/watching.

  6. Rich smyth

    The movies. Excuse me, the popcorn is ready.

  7. Enjoyed all the videos, Dave. Your dedication is amazing. The scenes are so different from what I am used to here in Florida. Kudos on yet another terrific blog.

    • Thank you, Roger. As such a dedicated teacher of Lincoln yourself, I take pride in instances where I can impress you.

      I’m a bit glad the escape route didn’t occur in your area. I don’t have any idea how to deal with gators.

  8. Steve Dixon

    Great job, Dave.

  9. Fantastic, Dave! I always enjoy your enthusiasm and never ending stream of knowledge! Love the videos -great job!

    • You have an iPhone, Betty. That’s all the technology I use to do this. Let’s see you make a tour of some Powell sites. I love seeing your knowledge on display.

  10. Pingback: More about Oswell Swann | BoothieBarn

  11. Dave, I’ve finally finished watching your set of videos. Very interesting! It took a lot out of me to watch you exert yourself so, but I am nothing if not tough. Roger, I agree the terrain up here is much different than that of Southwest Florida!

    When I lived in Naples, in my younger days, one of my best buddies used to have us drive him to Edison Mall in Fort Myers (about 26 miles up US 41, if I remember correctly) or he’d take the Trailways Bus, and he’d RUN back! He was as skinny as a greyhound and I can only image the heat and sand and snakes and sand-spurs he’d encounter. He’d do that three or more times a week, but that (in addition to his brains) got him a scholarship to Yale as a marathon runner. Nowadays, he’s CFO of UPS.


  12. TAE FORD


  13. Enjoyed the tour, especially the information about one of my ancestors, Ozwald Swann. I heard about his involvement in Booth’s escape a few years ago. I recently discovered he was the younger brother of my Great Great Grandfather – William Swann. I’m interested in the letter you mentioned about his wife and children.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: