Lincoln assassination conspirator John Surratt, in 1865 a twenty-two-year-old former Catholic seminarian, had extensive connections to Confederate agents in Richmond. Using the family tavern in Maryland as a base, Surratt became a courier for Confederate intelligence operations.

Surratt was introduced to Booth by Dr. Samuel Mudd, whose home in Charles County, Maryland was conveniently located along escape routes from Washington to Richmond. Surratt, in turn, helped recruit Lewis Powell.

By the time Booth dropped his abduction plan in favor of assassinating Lincoln, Surratt was in Canada on a mission authorized by Confederate Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin. Of the original conspirators, he alone would escape punishment. He fled to Europe, eventually being captured in Egypt and returned to the United States. A civilian jury deadlocked on charges against him in 1867, and the federal government chose not to retry him.

John Surratt died in 1916.


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