Did John Wilkes Booth carry two guns on April 14, 1865?

Is this another Booth pistol? (picture from Civil War Times Illustrated, Jan. 1975)

Name engraved on butt of pistol (picture from Civil War Times Illustrated, Jan. 1975)



Could it be so?  Was Booth actually prepared to use a second pistol on the evening of April 14, 1865, if needed?

I found an article in Civil War Times Illustrated, Volume XIII, Number 9, January 1975, Page 20.  It is entitled:  Booth’s Other Pistol by Hamilton Cochran. It says that a Mr. James J. Gifford found the weapon and it had the name J. Wilkes Booth engraved on the butt plate. He found it at Ford’s on the morning of the 15th. Gifford was a stage carpenter. According to the article, Gifford thought he had the murder weapon and feared turning it in to the authorities. It is a smaller derringer than the actual murder weapon used. He held on to it for years. It wasn’t until 1901 that anything was said about the weapon. By then, Gifford had died and it belonged to a George Plowman. Plowman also thought that it was the murder weapon. The story continues but is too long to repeat here. The author of the article claimed he then owned the weapon himself (at least as of the date of the writing). He concludes the piece by speculating about the weapon. Did Booth carry two pistols? If he didn’t, how did it get into Ford’s theater-and on April 15th? Why does it have Booth’s name on it-if it didn’t belong to Booth? It sounds like the author believes-but can’t be positive in the end- that Booth brought both weapons to Ford’s. He suggests it either fell from Booth by accident or Booth tossed it aside. Still, he ends: “Unfortunately the answer will never be known. It is buried in the Booth family plot among the bones of the self-appointed executioner of President Abraham Lincoln.”

I have been informed that the weapon now is in a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum.  Maybe that is appropriate-maybe not…

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