While there have been many wonderful books written about the Lincoln assassination, whenever someone asks for my opinion about the best book on the subject I always direct them to American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies. In terms of depth of research and wealth of knowledge I believe American Brutus to be unparalleled in Lincoln assassination scholarship. In turn, I also view its author, Michael Kauffman, to be the foremost expert on the Lincoln assassination. The man has spent over 50 years delving into every single side story relating to Booth and the assassination. Not only that but Mr. Kauffman has also “walked the walked” in personally recreating many of the events relating to the history. His stories of jumping from a ladder onto the stage at Ford’s Theatre and his own attempt to row across the Potomac were big motivations to me and inspired me to create my “John Wilkes Booth in the Woods” reenactment. Mr. Kauffman is a walking encyclopedia and also happens to be one of the nicest people you could meet. Needless to say that whenever I get a chance to talk and learn from Mr. Kauffman, I am definitely in awe of his knowledge and experience.
The reason I am saying all of this is because there is a rare opportunity for those of you in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area to learn from this true expert on the Lincoln assassination. While Mr. Kauffman was once a fixture of the John Wilkes Booth escape route bus tours put on by the Surratt Society, he retired from doing that a few years ago and rarely does bus tours anymore. However, he will be conducting a very special John Wilkes Booth escape route bus tour on Saturday, April 30, 2016. This unique bus tour is being put on by Historic Port Royal, the historical society in Port Royal, Virginia, where John Wilkes Booth was cornered and killed. This tour is focused entirely on Booth’s escape through Virginia and will commence just over the Potomac River in King George County, Virginia. Here’s a scanned page about the event from the newest HPR newsletter:
As some of you may know, I am a board member for Historic Port Royal. We are a growing historical society and currently operate three different museums: The Port Royal Museum of American History, The Port Royal Museum of Medicine, and the Old Port Royal School. Each year HPR also organizes an Independence Day celebration. This is in addition to our quarterly newsletter and public events and speakers throughout the year. If you are not already a member of Historic Port Royal, please join us. We are a 100% volunteer organization and so your small annual dues help us preserve our growing collection of artifacts and keep the lights on at our museums so that more people may come and learn about this historic town.
Historic Port Royal is using this bus tour as a fundraiser and we would love to sell out every seat on the bus. As stated on the above flyer, the tour is from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday, April 30, 2016. The cost is $65 which includes a box lunch.
For those who have taken other Booth escape route tours before, this tour will include familiar spots such as Mrs. Quesenberry’s house, Dr. Stuart’s Cleydael, and the Peyton House in Port Royal. However it will also include stops at Belle Grove Plantation (the birthplace of President James Madison where members of the 16th NY Cavalry stopped while on the hunt for Booth), The Port Royal Museum Museum of American History (which contains several artifacts relating to the Garrett farm and the death of Booth), and a fuller tour of Port Royal itself complete with a skit on the porch of the Peyton House re-enacting Booth’s arrival in town (by yours truly).
The whole event promises to be one that participants will not soon forget especially with a guide as knowledgeable as Michael Kauffman.
To get more information or to reserve your spot please call HPR Treasurer Bill Henderson at (804) 450-3994 or email him at WehLsu82@aol.com. There are very few seats left for this special tour of John Wilkes Booth’s escape through Virginia led by Lincoln assassination expert Michael Kauffman. I hope to see some of you there.
I wish I could be there. Thanks again to you and Kate for giving me and my husband a personalized John Wilkes escape tour last Saturday. It was great to see you again and finally meet Kate. Hope to visit your neck of the woods soon. 🙂
Just taking the tour is a bucket list event for me. I’d love to take one with Mr. Kauffman! I have to agree, his work is among the absolute best when it comes to Booth and the assassination. Have fun!
Wish I lived closer! Great to meet you last week on the Escape Tour! I agree-Michael Kauffman’s book is excellent!
I do wish I could go to this! It sounds like it will be very interesting. I would love to go on a Booth escape route tour and see all the places he was. I will, however, check out “American Brutus”. Thanks again for another interesting post 😊
I had read Mr Kauffmans’ Book an took the tour. It was amazing so informative and wonderful. f you can’t take the tour get the book a great read for sure.
For those who would like to do the FULL Booth Escape Route Tour (that began in 1977 with the late James O. Hall, the dean of Lincoln assassination studies) and the Surratt Society and Museum, there will be three bus tours going over the route this fall.
Visit surrattmuseum.org for more details We begin booking in mid-June, and it helps to get on our magic mailing list to receive advanced information before we open it in general. The cost for these complete tours is $85/person. The only thing not covered in that cost is your mid-day meal. We take you to a restaurant, but you choose your selection and pay for it.
Our tours are also run three times in the spring.
P.S. Dave is on the route right now, directing one of our tours. As I type, he is probably right around Port Royal, Virginia…