Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    [Abraham Lincoln]: James Rowan O'Beirne's Final Report to Edwin Stanton. Provost Marshal James O'Beirne was a key player in the pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth and David Herold. O'Beirne was hot on the trail of the conspirators when ordered to remain in Maryland while agents of Lafayette C. Baker and the Secret Service were dispatched to Virginia. That military contingent caught up with Booth and Herold at Garrett's tobacco barn and finished the job. Bitter about being denied the chance to capture his prey, O'Beirne was initially denied any part of the reward money and had to lobby Congress, along with telegraph operator Samuel Beckwith, in pursuit of his claim. In conjunction with the memorandum book and archive of papers from the O'Beirne estate, we offer his final report to Secretary of War Stanton who, on April 16th, ordered him to track down the conspirators. Accompanying that report is a graphic albumen photograph from Gardner's "Incidents of the War". It is 6 ¾" x 9" on the original 9 ¼" x 11" titled mounted and shows the "Office of the Provost Marshall General's Office Washington, D.C. 1865 Draped in Mourning for Abraham Lincoln President of the United States. Cross [x] Gen'l Jas. Rowan O'Beirne Provost Marshall District of Columbia". The mount is trimmed at the top. There are some stains and minor loss to the lower left corner of the albumen. O'Beirne stands in the front row with his hands in his pockets. Captain Edward P. Doherty, who led the troops that captured and killed Booth, stands in the doorway. A great photo!! The report is hand-written on 8" x 13" lined legal paper (six sides of four sheets), plus three appendices written on three sheets. These are likely clerical copies, but the front of the first page has a pencil inscription in O'Beirne's hand reading: "adding [?] appendices D. report of Dec 27/65 wanted from AGO". The report is dated May 1st and summarizes O'Beirne's activities "... in the pursuit of the assassins of our late beloved and merciful President as also of the Secretary of State and family." His list of accomplishments, self-serving though it may be, points to the "seizure of the murderous weapons... owned by G. A. Atzerodt", leading the "first prompt pursuit into Maryland after Booth and Herold", "bringing up the clues to the murderers to within twenty four hours later", the "arrest of [John] Lloyd and Dr. Mudd", the "first discovery of Booth's and Herold's flight into Virginia", the "information which led to the arrest of G. A. Atzerodt in Montgomery County Maryland", after going to the Peterson House "... I secured the presence of the President's physician and other Medical Gentlemen", bringing Andrew Johnson to the Peterson House and escorting him back to the Kirkwood House, etc. He refers to various reports and documentation, as well as listing colleagues who deserve recognition for their part in the affair. "Appendix A" lists "Articles Found in the room of G. A. Atzerodt at the Kirkwood House". "Appendix F" is a notarized deposition from Robert Murray, Marshal for the Southern District of New York, affirming a statement by Stanton to O'Beirne "... that if you did not succeed in capturing Booth, it was the telegram which you sent to the War Department which led to it." "Appendix G" is a notarized statement by Patrick Brennan recalling a conversation between Marshals Murray and O'Beirne in which Murray affirmed hearing Stanton say that O'Beirne's telegram led directly to the capture of Booth and Herold and "... that all the officers who were in pursuit did their duty nobly." A unique and virtually unobtainable document from one of Booth's main pursuers whose efforts were instrumental in his capture. Ex: Sang Collection (Sotheby Parke Bernet, April 1978, lot #200).

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2015
    24th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 923

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $100,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $100,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2019 December 8 Civil War, Militaria, Arms & Armor Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    We had a wonderful time in New York during the October 2013 Historical Manuscripts auction that featured my mother’s papers collected during her tenure as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s secretary. In fact, the entire experience from beginning to end has been a pleasure.
    Howard Ballou,
    Brandon, MS
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 June 22 - 23 The David and Janice Frent Collection of Presidential &  Political Americana, Part V - Dallas
    2019 June 22 - 23 The David and Janice Frent Collection of Presidential & Political Americana, Part V - Dallas
    REALIZED SO FAR $746,988