What About Doctor Mudd?

After shooting President Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth rendezvoused with fellow conspirator and accomplice David Herold. The pair stopped at a tavern retrieved Booth’s field glasses, a rifle, and some whiskey.

At about 4:00 AM, the pair arrived Bryantown, Maryland to see Dr. Samuel Mudd to have Booth’s broken leg set. The two fugitives rested at Mudd’s home and departed later in the afternoon.

Finally, the U.S. Cavalry caught up with suspects who were asleep in a tobacco barn near Port Royal, Virginia. Herold surrendered to the troops, but Booth was shot dead after the barn was set on fire.

What about Dr. Mudd? He was apprehended and placed under arrest for conspiracy and for harboring Booth and Herold. Dr. Mudd’s connection to Booth was tenuous, the two had discussed the sale of a horse less than a year before the assassination of the President.

During Mudd’s trial, several witnesses testified that Booth and Mudd were associates. Mudd was convicted and sentenced to life in prison at Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas in the Florida Keys.

Following a failed escape attempt later in 1865, Mudd was assigned to the carpentry shop at the prison. During this time-span, Mudd’s spouse had been sending letters to President Andrew Johnson to plead for her husband’s release.

The doctor was pardoned by President Johnson on February 8, 1869. Johnson released Mudd because of the doctor’s leadership and activity during a yellow fever epidemic on the Dry Tortugas in 1867. The Presidential pardon document was signed by Johnson as Mrs. Mudd witnessed the act. Dr. Mudd was officially released on March 8, 1869.

The question remains, did Dr. Mudd knowingly harbor known fugitives, or was he truly ignorant of the two men’s connection to Lincoln’s assassination at the time when he allowed them to rest at his home?

The Blue Jay of Happiness likes this thought from Abraham Lincoln: “When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.