RM Rights Managed
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Portrait photo circa 1860s of Sergeant Thomas "Boston" Corbett (1832 - c1894) - the Union Army soldier who fatally shot John Wilkes Booth (Abraham Lincoln's assassin). Corbett was a member of the 16th New York Cavalry Regiment which was sent to capture Booth after President Lincoln was gunned down in Ford's Theatre on April 14 1865. The troops cornered Booth and co-conspirator David Herold in a barn in Virginia on April 26 and Herold surrendered after the barn was set alight. Booth remained inside and Corbett shot him through a large crack in the barn wall - despite orders that he should be taken alive. Booth died of his injuries a few hours later and Corbett was arrested for violating orders but charges were later dropped. Corbett, who had a history of mental illness, left the army in August 1865 and his later life was marked by increasingly erratic behaviour, possibly due to mercury exposure in his profession as a hatter. Corbett disappeared after 1888 but is thought to have settled in a cabin he built in forests near Hinckley, Minnesota - he is believed to have died in the Great Hinckley Fire of 1894 which claimed hundreds of lives. Photo by Mathew B Brady.