Dr. Richard Stuart was an ardent Confederate supporter and a cousin of Gen. Robert E. Lee, but he wasn’t reckless.
When John Wilkes Booth and Davy Herold showed up on his doorstep after he had already caught wind of the assassination, Stuart turned them away.
The doctor was wealthy enough to have two large homes – Cedar Grove on the banks of the Potomac and Cleydael, near the Rappahannock in Maryland. Booth sought medical treatment for his injured leg at Cleydael.
Stuart refused to treat him on the grounds that he was not a surgeon and Booth was not his patient.
He also refused to take the duo in for the night.
He sent them to the nearby cabin of William Lucas, a free black man.
Booth was so enraged and insulted that he cut a page out of his memorandum book and wrote a note to the doctor. He quoted some lines from Macbeth and said he was paying $5 for the food Stuart furnished. Then Booth decided on a do-over.
He thought it would be even more insulting to leave less money. He wrote a new note, pinned $2.50 into the folder paper and asked Lucas to deliver it to Mrs. Stuart.
Dr. Stuart turned the note over to a Union detective.
Source: John Wilkes Booth’s Escape Route, Notes by James O. Hall, published by The Surratt Society