The Case Of Dr. Mudd
Kind Hearted Doctor or Assassination Accomplice?
Samuel Alexander Mudd I, M.D. was an American physician who was convicted and imprisoned for aiding and conspiring with John Wilkes Booth in the 1865 assassination of U. S. President Abraham Lincoln. He was pardoned by President Andrew Johnson and released from prison four years later. But he never overcame the stigma of having been suspected of the assassination of the President.
Dr. Mudd lived a quiet life on a farm and was considered to be a gentle man by people who knew him. His story was that on the night that Lincoln was killed, strangers came to his farmhouse and needed his aid. One of the men was John Wilkes Booth who was a radical against the President. Booth had a broken leg and Dr. Mudd gave him aide for his leg and helped him unbeknowst to him that Booth had just killed Lincoln and broke his leg when he jumped from the theatre, according to Mudd.
Dr. Mudd had many supporters but he was still convicted of conspiring with a criminal and he was sent to prison for four years. The main reason that he was found guilty was because Dr. Mudd's story changed a few times. He had said to police that he never saw John Wilkes Booth before that night, however he was seen several times together with John Wilkes Booth in town.
Years later after his release from prison, he was given a pardon by the President for having anything to do with the assassination of Lincoln. However he never quite overcame the infamous reputation and many people believe that the saying "his name is mud", refers to Dr. Mudd or originated from his story.
There were several people involved with the conspiracy to kill President Lincoln. I had no idea how many people there were but they were all radicals that didn't agree with Lincoln's politics, especially the ones concerning the abolishment of slavery. Here is a list of the people who were found guilty of this infamous crime.
Samuel Arnold-sentenced to life
George Atzerod-sentenced to hang
David Herod-sentenced to hang
Dr. Samuel Mudd- sentenced to life
Michael O'Laughten-sentenced to life
Lewis Powell-sentenced to hang
Edman Spangler-sentenced to 6 years
John Surratt- escaped to Canada
Mary Surratt- sentenced to hang
Mary Surrat was the owner of a boardinghouse where much of the planning of the conspircy took place. Her son, John, was a Confederate courier and spy, who became friendly with John Wilkes Booth, a celebrated stage actor. Another embittered Confederate, Booth was obsessed with taking revenge on the Union victory. Mary was convicted of conspiracy and everyone expected that she would get a life sentence because the United States had never executed a women before her. Mary was very sure that she would get pardoned up until the very end because surely the government would not put a woman to death right? Wrong, she was the first woman to be executed in the United States. What a way to go down in history.
The Assassins Execution
The execution of these four conspirators took place at the Old Arsenal Penitentiary (now Fort Leslie McNair) on July 7, 1865. The four conspirators had only been notified of their execution the day before and the scaffold had to be built in less than 24 hours. General John F. Hartranft was in charge of their confinement at Old Arsenal Prison during the seven week trial and now presided over their execution. Guards brought the condemned prisoners from confinement at a little after 1:00 p.m. and the entire event was completed in less than a half-hour. Mrs. Surratt had to be supported during the walk to the gallows.
President Lincoln may have been psychic
On the day of his assassination, April 14, 1865, he was so troubled by a dream that he discussed just a week before he was shot. In his dream, Lincoln awoke, and walked through the silent White House, following the sound of sobbing. When he came to the East Room he saw a coffin that was draped in black, he asked who it was and the military guard replied that it was the President.
John Wilkes Booth Quote- "Our country owed all her troubles to him, and God simply made me the instrument of his punishment
His name is still Mudd
This is the farm where Samuel Mudd lived and now it is a museum in Waldorf, MD. From what I understand it is only $5.00 to get in and when you go you may be treated to some war memoralbilia.
The Address is:
3725 Dr. Samuel Mudd Road,
Waldorf, MD 20601.
The phone number is 301-274-9358. Museum phone number is 301-645-6870.
At various time during the year special exhibits are shown in the kitchen. Past exhibits have been President Abraham Lincoln Pictures, Women's Clothing of the Period, and Antique Phonographs. Civil War encampments have been held on the grounds