By Friday, April 21, Booth had seen the newspaper stories reviling him, and he had been stymied in his attempts to escape to the Deep South.
After being hunted like a dog through swamps, woods, and last night being chased by gun boats till I was forced to return wet and cold and starving, with every man’s hand against me, I am here in despair. And why; For doing what Brutus was honored for, what made Tell a Hero. And yet I, for striking down a greater tyrant than they ever knew, am looked upon as a common cutthroat. My action was purer than either of theirs. One, hoped to be great himself. The other had no only his country’s but his own wrongs to avenge. I hoped for no gain. I knew no private wrong. I struck for my country and that alone. A country groaned beneath this tyranny and prayed for this end. Yet now behold the cold hand they extend to me. God cannot pardon me if I have done wrong. Yet I cannot see any wrong except in serving a degenerate peple. The little, the very little I left behind to clear my name, the Govmt will not allow to be printed. So ends all. For my country I have given up all that makes life sweet and Holy, brought misery on my family, and am sure there is no pardon in Heaven for me since man condemns me so. I have only heard what has been done (except what I did myself) and it fills me with horror. God try and forgive me and bless my mother. To night I will once more try the river with the intent to cross, though I have a greter desire to return to Washington and in a measure clear my name which I feel I can do. I do not repent the blow I struck. I may before God, but not to man.
I think I have done well, though I am abandoned, with the curse of Cain upon me. When if the world knew my heart, that one blow would have made me great, though I did desire no greatness.
To night I try to escape these blood hounds once more. Who who can read his fate. God’s will be done.
I have too great a soul to die like a criminal. Oh may he, may he spare me that and let me die bravely.
I bless the entire world. Have never hated or wronged anyone. This last was not a wrong, unless God deems it so. And its with him, to damn or bless me. And for this brave boy with me who often prayers (yes before and since) with a true and sincere heart, was it a crime in him, if so why can he pray the same I do not wish to shed a drop of blood, but “I must fight the course.” Tis all that’s left me.