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Hunted Like a Dog Mystery Cache

Hidden : 05/20/2011
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Size: Size:   micro (micro)

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Geocache Description:

This is a 3- stage puzzle cache that will take you along a little known segment of John Wilkes Booth’s escape route through Charles County. The cache is a small cammo'd container located at the top of a bluff overlooking the Potomac River. You can approach it from the beach if the tide is out. You can also approach the cache from the road. Please do not park at the gate. Use the parking coordinates.

The escape route

After leaving Dr. Mudd’s house, John Wilkes Booth and his co-conspirator, David Herold, traveled south to Rich Hill, the home of Confederate sympathizer, Samuel Cox, near the town of Bel Alton. Cox did not allow the men to stay at his house, but he did have his overseer take the men to an old confederate mail drop in a pine thicket a mile west of Rich Hill. (GCZ18J)

From the sign at Rich Hill project 5230 meters at a bearing of 198 degrees.

The projection will take you to Huckleberry, the home of Col. Thomas Jones who was a member of the Confederate Signal Corps and who was the chief agent in charge of spy operations in Southern Maryland.  
Col. Jones helped Booth and Herold escape across the Potomac River into Virginia. Col. Jones’ home is still standing, but it is privately owned.

To solve for the final location use the first word on the Historical Marker near the projected coordinates to fill in the blanks below.  (The sign is located beside the road on public property.)

The final location of the cache is:

N38 27.KYK W077 01.UBU


(From the cache location you can see out over the Potomac River where John Wilkes Booth and David Herold crossed over to Virginia. Their first attempt resulted in their rowing upriver to the right and landed them back in Maryland at the mouth of Nanjemoy Creek. Their second attempt the following night was more successful and they were able to make it across the river into Machodoc Creek in Virginia which is to the left on the far side of the Harry Nice Bridge.)



The timeline:

April 16, 1 am:  Booth and Herold arrived at Samuel Cox’s house, Rich Hill, in the town of Allen’s Fresh. Cox sent Booth and Herold to hide in a dense pine thicket one mile west of his house. Later that morning Cox contacted Col. Thomas Jones, the chief confederate secret service agent in the area, telling him where the men were hidden.

April 16, late day:  As hundreds of Union troops and detectives swarmed the area in a desperate manhunt, Col. Jones quietly went into the woods and made contact with Booth and Herold. They made a plan for the two men to stay in the woods while they waited for an opportunity to make a run for the river three miles away. Jones also told them to kill their horses because they would draw attention to their hiding place. Herold took the horses into the Zechiah swamp and shot them.

April 16 – 21:  Herold and Booth hid out in the woods while Col. Jones provided them with food and the daily newspapers. The average temperature for Charles County in mid-April, 1865, was 57 degrees during the day and a chilly 44 at night, but it was too dangerous for them to light a fire to keep warm. During those 5 days, Booth made several telling entries in his diary.

April 21, late afternoon:  While Col. Jones was inside Colton’s Store in Allen’s Fresh, a small calvary unit rode up and Jones heard their guide say that Booth and Herold were seen in St. Mary’s County. The entire detachment left the area. Jones decided this was his chance to get the fugitives down to the river.

April 21, after dark:  Jones went into the pine thicket and he and Herold helped Booth to climb onto Jones’ horse. With Jones walking fifty to sixty yards ahead of them looking for signs of danger, they made their way to Jones’ house near the river, arriving at about 10pm. Booth begged to go inside for a cup of coffee, but Jones said that it would be too risky as one of his servants might recognize him. Jones did, however, go inside and get some food which he took out to them. Booth remained on the horse while he ate. Jones then led them across Dent’s Meadow to the river’s edge and helped them into a rowboat, for which Booth paid $18. He also gave them a compass and showed them, by candlelight, how to steer a course of 190 degrees which would take them into Machodoc Creek in Virginia.

April 21- 22 midnight hours to early am:  Booth and Herold ran into trouble crossing the river. The weather was bad and they had limited visibility. Through the fog they spotted lights from a Union gunboat and stopped rowing to avoid being noticed and let the wind and current carry them. In the early morning light Herold, who was familiar with the area, recognized that they were still in Maryland, at the mouth of Nanjemoy Creek, and near the home of his friend, Peregrine Davis. Herold led the way to the house which was occupied by Davis’ son-in-law, John Hughes. Hughes reluctantly gave them food and allowed them to stay in a slave shack near the water for the day.

April 22, after sunset:  Booth and Herold got back into the flat bottomed skiff and rowed 10 miles on the open river, past several Union patrol boats.

April 23, sunrise:  Booth and Herold arrived on the Virginia Shore. Booth stayed in the boat as Herold went to find the Confederate safe house operated by Elizabeth Quesenberry.

April 23, 1 pm: Herold found the Quesenberry farm where he met up with Thomas Harbin. Harbin took Booth and Herold to another Confederate agent, William Bryant, who supplied them with horses.

The Diary


While Booth and Herold were hiding in the slave shack near Col. Hughes’ house, Booth made his final entry into his diary which read, in part:

“After being hunted like a dog through swamps, woods, and last night being chased by gunboats till I was forced to return wet, 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.”





Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Gur svany ybpngvba pna nyfb or sbhaq ol qrpelcgvat gur pbqr va Obbgu'f qvnel.
Svany: uvtu va n prqne gerr

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)