John Wilkes Booth believed he could improve chances for a separate Southern nation if he assassinated the president, vice president, secretary of state, and General Grant. He thought the resulting chaos would force the North to accept a negotiated peace that would preserve the Confederacy.
Booth and at least nine other Southern sympathizers were the subjects of an intensive manhunt. Booth was located on a southeastern Virginia farm, where he died from self-inflicted wounds on April 26. The others were tried in a military court. Four were hanged, four received prison sentences (commuted by President Andrew Johnson in 1869), and one was acquitted in 1867.