Herold's fate/legacy

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Steven G. Miller:
In "American Brutus" Mike Kauffman makes a strong case that Booth, who he sees as a skillful tactician and someone versed in the legal nuances of the time, had arranged things so that all his co-conspirators were compromised and therefore unable to expose him and his plots to the authorities without being in jeopardy themselves. This was true of David Herold and he could not have hidden from the dragnet due to his close association with Booth. He might have been able to abandon Booth during the getaway attempt, and even given up Booth's hiding place, andthis could have saved him from the gallows, but put in a cell for life instead.

I believe that Herold could have blended into the countryside a lot easier than the sophisticated Booth. He could easily have passed himself off as an ex-confederate soldier and made his way to some place out west, or perhaps Canada.


Wow! you guys make him out to be a world traveler.I'm sure he could have blended in around the area but to just up and move off all by himself I'm still not sure if he had it in him.I've always read that he was raised and pampered by the women of his family.Maybe I've got him mixed up with someone else. ::)

John Watson:
I think Herold could have survived for a period of time, if he had abandoned Booth before being trapped with him at Garretts. With Booth dead and the conspirators hung or in prison, authorities eventually would have given up actively searching for him and the reward would likely be withdrawn.  But until then, Herold would have had to "lay low," resist the temptation to immediately return to the friends and familiar surroundings he left in D. C. and lower Maryland, and most importantly keep his mouth shut.  Although young and still somewhat dependant on his parents, Herold gave every indication of being able to get along on his own if necessary; he was  adept at gaining employment when he so desired, and had no problem finding a place to sleep, either at his place of employment or with friends.  The real question is whether this young man had the courage to completely disassociate himself with the people and places he was familiar with - and resist trusting anyone with his identity - for the length of time necessary for things to cool down.

They didn't give up searching for John Surratt after everything was said and done, so I doubt they would given up searching for Herold. IMO.


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