Booth and the Richmond Grays


About a month ago, I found an obscure cite on line (public domain) that pertained to a first hand recollection that all JWB brought with him to the John Brown Charles Town Deployment (circa Nov-Dec 1859) was a knife.  I had to capture the page on line to print it off and now I cannot locate it in my files.  This was the only reference I had ever found regarding him bringing a knife with him on the boxcar leaving for Charles Town.  It included the usual recollections of Libby and Bossieux, Whitlock, Alfriend  regarding him having no uniform, no rifle, but this one particular cite included the mention of "all he brought with him was a knife".  In trying to retrace my steps, no luck.

Does anyone have any information on this subject or the cited reference?  In light of the turn that my research has taken, this has now become extremely important to me.

Any assistance anyone could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks!


I would contact the Surratt House Museum and ask for Sandra Walia, she's in charge of the library there, and she might be able to help you.

Here's the contact info:

Thank you for the suggestion.  I've been in contact with Laurie - what a nice lady.  She was the one who so kindly referred me to this website and she has patiently fielded my question and provided some additional info.  Alas,  the one specific reference that speaks to his bringing a knife has not surfaced.  According to her source, Booth had both a dirk and a derringer with him during his time at Richmond so it is very plausible that he brought a knife with him on the John Brown deployment.  However, It is the specific first hand reference confirming that "all he brought with him was a knife" that I am seeking.  What a terrible way to learn the lesson never to discard what appears at the time to be non-significant information.  At this point I am endeavoring to look into the difference between a dirk (as in a stage/theatrical dagger) vs. an actual knife (bowie, standard issue, etc.)  This may seem a minor distinction and point but in the context of my targeted research, this information is very significant.

Any further information would be greatly appreciated.

I love this website.  What a gem!


Thanks for the "props"  ;)

And I'm glad you joined!



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