559. Luther B. Baker (Statement)
[1887 — 88]
Upon reaching Washington D.C. with the body of J. Wilks Booth, it was at once removed from the tug boat; to a gun-boat that lay at the dock at the Navyyard, where it remained about: 36 hours. It was there examined by the Surgeon General and staff and other officers and identified by half a score of others who had known him well.
Toward evening of the second day Genl. L. C. Baker, then chief of the "detective bureau of the war department," recved. orders from sec. Stanton to dispose of the body. Stanton said "Put it where it will not be disturbed until Gabriel blows his last trumpet."
I was ordered to assist him. The body was then placed in a row-boat, and taking with us one trusty man to manage the boat, we quietly floated down the river
Crowds of people all along the shore were watching us. For a "blind" we took with us a heavy ball and chain and it was soon going from lip to lip that we were about to sink the body in the Potomac. Darkness soon came on completely concealing our movements, and under its cover we pulled slowly back to the old penitentiay which during the war was used as an Arsenal. The body was then lifted
571from the boat & carried through a door opening upon the river front. Under the stone floor of what had been a prison cell, a shallow grave was dug, and the body, with the U.S. blanket "for a winding sheet," was there interred, where it remained untill Booths accomplices were hanged. It was then taken up and burried with his companions in crime. I have since learned that the remains was again disinterred and given to his friends, and that they now rest in the family burial place in — Baltimore Md.
L. B. Baker
Lieut. & A.D.M.
1st D.C. Cav.
Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 5266 — 67