‘Manhunt’ Episode 6 Recap: How Did Booth Die?

In the previous episode of Manhunt, the Union officers were finally closing in on the President’s assassin. In order to pander to the former Confederates and gain their support, President Johnson takes back the land grants given by the War Department under the Lincoln Reconstruction plans. As a result, Mary Simms also had to give up her land where she had started a school for the Black folks. Mary is compelled to go back to the abusive Dr Mudd’s house and work for him once again.


When Stanton and his men get back on the spy trail to pursue Booth and Herold, they stumble upon Mudd’s house. Stanton and his men realize that Mudd’s house being on the Confederate spy line and his treating Booth wasn’t a mere coincidence and that he was indeed a Confederate sympathizer himself. After Stanton finds a pair of boots with Booth’s initials on them in the room upstairs, Mary bravely testifies against her slaver, leading to his arrest. As a gesture of gratitude, Stanton offers her and her brother shelter at a friendly camp. 

Due to the days of harrowing travel, Booth’s broken leg gets infected, and his condition seems to further deteriorate as well. After crossing the river into Virginia, he comes across a band of former Confederate soldiers on their way to sign a pledge of allegiance to the Union. Booth arrogantly boasts about his murder of Lincoln to this crowd, but they turn him down, calling him dishonorable and a coward for shooting a man in the back of his head. One of these men, however, points him towards Garrett’s farm, hoping that Booth and his accomplice would find aid at the Confederate sympathizer’s house. Stanton and his men finally figure out Booth’s whereabouts by interrogating the man who helped Booth. However, as Stanton heads to mount his horse, he experiences an asthmatic attack and collapses. 


Spoilers Ahead

Who Is Thomas Corbett? 

Sergeant Thomas Corbett is a serviceman in the Union Army and is a part of the task force in pursuit of Booth and Herold through the spy line. It was shown in the previous episode that Thomas Corbett was once a homeless man begging on the streets after his family, including his wife, had died of disease. It was not until a Christian pastor showed compassion and baptized him that he decided to enlist in the army. A reborn yet delusional man, Corbett had been awaiting a sign from God ever since. When he is assigned to the group of men tasked with hunting down Booth, he sees it as the sign he has been waiting for all this time. 


How Does Booth Die? 

Booth’s condition has significantly deteriorated by the time he arrives at fellow Confederate sympathizer Garrett’s house. He is being tended to by Julia Garrett, as her father is away for the moment. Even though Booth needs urgent medical attention, Herold is anxious to borrow the horses from the Garretts and leave as early as possible since they’re very close to their destination in Richmond, Virginia. Julia asks the men to wait for her father’s return in the tobacco barn instead, since her father would be upset if he saw two strangers in the house. 

Booth and Herold comply, even though Herold is strongly against being locked in a barn. Herold feels that something is off about the entire situation, and leaving for Richmond at a moment’s notice is the best thing to do. Due to his injuries, Booth has also started to become delirious, talking about how his father used to call him useless from a young age. Herold, on the other hand, starts to question his actions as well. He feels as though he had a good life as a simple pharmacist, but now he is trapped in a stranger’s barn. 


Meanwhile, with Stanton now under doctor’s care at a hotel nearby, his men continue the hunt and finally arrive at Garrett’s farm. Thomas Corbett interrogates Julia, who reveals that Booth and Herold are at the tobacco barn. The cavalry surrounds the barn, leading to a standoff between the Union men and Booth and Herold. Booth, pointing his gun, clarifies that he will not surrender, and the Captain of the Union gives them a few minutes to come to terms with their surrender or they’ll be encountered. 

Herold, fearing for his life, encourages Booth to surrender. Herold believes he has committed no crime and hasn’t even taken a life, which is why he doesn’t deserve this fate. Booth clarifies that Herold has spent 12 days with him, and that makes him a criminal as well, but eventually, he decides to let Herold surrender. Herold exits the barn and surrenders to the Union officers, but heads back inside to plead for Booth’s life. 


Meanwhile, Corbett believes that he must kill Booth as divine retribution for killing the President. He tries to convince the Colonel to storm into the barn, but the Colonel wants to save every man in his battalion. These men had survived a war and wished to see their family, and the Colonel wanted to fulfill that wish. He orders his men to set the barn on fire. Unconvinced by his superior’s orders, Corbett goes around the back of the barn and shoots Booth from a hole in the wall. 

What Does Booth’s Death Signify? 

Call it karma, but in a manner similar to Lincoln, Booth gets shot in the back of his head. The Union men lie Booth down on a pillow on the porch of the ranch, where he takes his last breath and utters his last words, ‘Useless.’ Perhaps, before he meets his maker, Booth realizes what he has done and calls himself useless. This was something that had already foreshadowed when he told Herold how his father use to call him that. 


Booth was a delusional madman who thought he had done the work of God and ended the tyrant. He was shot by Thomas Corbett, another man who thought he had done the work of God by killing the man who had killed a man who was actually doing God’s work by abolishing slavery. Booth thought he would be revered as a hero, but during his journey, he realized that he was actually useless. He believed in false propaganda and threw his life away for glory. By the time Stanton arrived at the scene, Booth was already dead. He sees Booth’s dead body and orders his men to get rid of the body. He wants Booth’s body to never be found by anyone so that people never make a hero out of Booth. 

What Is The Grand Conspiracy? 

Following Booth’s death, Stanton and Judge Joseph Holt go to Johnson to discuss the trial of the conspirators. Despite differing opinions, Johnson and Stanton find common ground in the fact that the people need swift prosecution. This type of legal hearing would be a show to discourage other Confederate sympathizers from following in Booth’s footsteps. Stanton and Holt believe that the only way to do so would be by going to a military tribunal, because a civil hearing led by a panel of jurors is prone to sympathy. 


Stanton and Holt add that because of the evidence, they’ve come to believe that Jefferson Davis was involved in the assassination of Lincoln, and it would only make sense that they publicly accused Jefferson of the crime and had him arrested as well. Stanton and Holt call this the Grand Conspiracy. Johnson supports this idea but warns Stanton that he would need a very strong fight against Jefferson. Even though it is a far-fetched plan, Stanton wants to stand by it. He believes that this is the only way the Confederate agenda can be extinguished. Stanton’s men also think that his plan is delusional, but Stanton’s son supports his father. He clarifies that Stanton was a criminal lawyer before he was the Secretary of War, and only he can make this plan a success. As a result, the Union men crack down on Jefferson and track him down to Confederate camp where he is hiding in women’s clothes to avoid being arrested. 

What Can We Expect In The Next Episode? 

With Booth dead, Stanton’s case is weaker now, but he will find every piece of evidence he can. As the trial of the grand conspiracy takes place, Stanton and his men will assemble a group of witnesses who will testify against the conspirators. At the same time, Sanders, who is in London, might be able to find ways to prevent Jefferson’s prosecution, perhaps by bribing the people testifying against him. 


Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Shrey Ashley Philip
Shrey Ashley Philip
A teacher, photographer, linguist, and songwriter, Shrey started out as a Biotechnology graduate, but shifted to studying Japanese. Now he talks about movies, advocates for ADHD awareness, and embraces Albert Camus.

Latest articles