Autograph Letter Signed "John S. Young Chief of N.Y. Detectives" concerning the pursuit of John Wilkes Booth. One lined page, 7.5" x 10", on letterhead reading "Headquarters Department of Washington, / Office Provost Marshal General, Defences North of Potomac" but datelined by Young "Head Quarters Bryantown" [Maryland], 25 April 1865, to Major [James Rowan] O'Beirne. The addressee was in fact the Provost Marshal at Washington, but he had apparently furnished Detective Young with some of his stationery. Young - one of a number of local police operatives "loaned" to the federal government to assist in tracking John Wilkes Booth - here reports that "at 9:30 o'clock this A.M. I received information that Booth & Herold had been seen about 4 miles from here in the direction of Beantown. They came out from the pine woods on foot and remained on the edge of the wood and beckoned for a negro woman to come . . . and asked her for some food, then went back into the woods again. I immediately sent a detachment of about 25 cavalrymen and all of the detectives - with the party who have the information - then about five companies of the colored infantry and 300 of the 8th Illinois Cavalry in different detachments. Will send you word immediately if they are captured." Illustrative of the many wrong leads that kept pursuers busy, Young wrote this letter two days after his quarry had in fact rowed across the Potomac to Virginia, and they would be captured - by others - during this very night. The letter has some slight separation at folds; some stains, though text is completely readable. Near fine.

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    Auction Dates
    November, 2008
    20th Thursday
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