Port Royal Crossing

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Now we're crossing the Potomac, headed into Virginia.

Nice bridge.  I'm sure John Wilkes Booth would have appreciated having it at his disposal, if only it had existed back then.  But he and David Herold did eventually get across the river by boat, though it was a harrowing journey that lasted from April 20 to April 22.


There's Capt' Billy's off in the distance.


Cleydael is a private home whose gracious owners have to endure occasional busloads of tourists at the end of their driveway merely because John Wilkes Booth and David Herold stopped by here on April 23, 1865.  The fugitives were hoping for assistance in their escape, but things didn't work out that way. 


Ed tells us that when Booth and Herold arrived, the owner of Cleydael, Dr. Richard Stuart, was aware of the assassination of Lincoln and refused to help them directly.  He'd surmised who they were, even though Booth was calling himself "John W. Boyd."  The doctor wouldn't even examine Booth's leg.  Instead, he sent Booth and Herold to the nearby cabin of William Lucas, a former slave.  The fugitives ejected Lucas from his own home so they could have a place to spend the night. 

The next day Dr. Lucas's son used a wagon to take Booth and Herold further south to Port Conway, where they joined up with three Confederate soldiers: Mortimer Ruggles, Absolom Bainbridge, and Willie Jett.  But Booth was so incensed by his perceived ill-treatment by Stuart, that he sent a snarky note back home with Lucas's son, and enclosed $2.10 as "payment" for the doctor's hospitality.  That was supposed to be a huge insult in 19th Century Virginia, but it turned out to be a godsend for Dr. Stuart. When soldiers later arrived to arrest Dr. Stuart for aiding Booth, that snarky note served as proof that he was innocent.  John Wilkes Booth had provided Stuart his very own "get out of jail free" card.


Of the three guys standing there, the one in the middle is Tim, our bus driver.  He did a great job all day, but he really impressed us with his driving skills when he backed that behemoth bus down a narrow one-lane road right up the the edge of the Rappahannock River at the former site of Port Royal Harbor.


See?  This is where Booth, Herold and the soldiers crossed the Rappahannock. 


C'mon, it's getting late, Ed, and we still have to make it to the site of Garrett Farm where Booth's escape attempt came to an end.  Hurry it up!


Ed knows what he's doing, and he continues to tell the tale.


See?  What a storyteller!  He's telling about the episode with the Confederate soldiers.


Even with all this storytelling going on behind them, the folks who were fishing never lost their concentration.


Nice view of the bridge in the setting sun.  But we never saw them catch a thing.


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