17. Booth tried to negotiate with his pursuers in his last minutes
When Baker issued his ultimatum Booth called out from the barn door, “Who are you? What do you want? Whom do you want?” and received the reply, “We want you, and we know who you are”. The soldiers fanned out around the barn, and some reported they could hear Herold begging Booth to allow him to surrender himself. Booth finally called out, “â¦there is a man here who wants to surrender awful bad”, and was told in reply that he must first hand over his weapons. Booth tried to bluff, claiming Herold had no weapons, but the officers had by then learned from the Garrets what weapons were being carried by the fugitives.
The officers disagreed among themselves over whether to allow Herold to exit the barn without turning over his weapons. Finally, Doherty decided to accept his surrender, and positioned himself to the side of the door, allowing Herold to sidle out to captivity. As he did, Doherty clearly heard Booth whisper to Herold, “â¦don’t tell them the arms I have”. With Herold in custody, the officers debated whether to take Booth immediately, burn the barn as promised, or wait until daylight. Detective Conger sent John and William Garrett to set kindling along the walls of the barn, and John Garrett complied until an alerted Booth warned him to step away from the barn.