On April 26, 1865, Sergeant Thomas P. ”Boston“ Corbett shot and killed the alleged assassin of Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth in a barn in Bowling Green, Virginia.
Corbett was a eccentric character, who was born in England and made his home in New York. It is thought that his occupation as a hatter, which involved the use of mercury in production, contributed to his mental illness. Shortly after the death of his wife in childbirth, Corbett converted to Methodism and began to grow his hair long to emulate Jesus. He evidenced even more bizarre behavior when he castrated himself with a pair of scissors, then went to dinner before seeking medical attention.
As a member of the 16th New York Cavalry, Corbett had been directed by the Secretary of War to bring Booth in alive. Hovever, after seeing Booth moving inside the surrounded barn, Corbett took aim with his Colt revolver and mortally wounded him. Although he at first claimed self defense, he later stated that “Providence directed me”.
Perhaps this was an example of Karma, with mentally ill fanatics cancelling each other out.