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Full text of "The life of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd; containing his letters from Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas island, where he was imprisoned four years for alleged complicity in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, with statements of Mrs. Samuel A. Mudd, Dr. Samuel A. Mudd, and Edward Spangler regarding the assassinatin and the argument of General Ewing on the question of the jurisdiction of the Military commission, and on the law and facts of the case; also "diary" of John Wilkes Booth"

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The Gift of 


Class of 1909 



vxffy u if 



Cornell University Library 
E457.5 .M94 1906 

The life of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd 


3 1924 032 760 930 



Cornell University 

The original of tiiis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 

Dr. Samuel a. Mudd 

As He Appeared when Working in the Carpenter's Shop in the 
Prison at Fort Jefferson 




Dr. Samuel A. Mudd 

Containing his Letters from Fort Jefferson, 
Dry Tortugas Island, where he was Im- 
prisoned Four Years for Alleged Complicity 
in the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln 


Statements of Mrs. Samuel A. Mudd, 
Dr. Samuel A. Mudd, and Edward 
Spangler Regarding the Assassination 


The Argument of General Ewino 

on the Question of the Jurisdiction of the Military Commission, 

and on the La<w and Facts of the Case 

also "Diary" of John Wilkes Booth 



with preface by 


New York and Washington 



Copyright, 1906, by 



Preface, 1 1 

Introduction, 19 

I. My Father's Birthplace and Childhood — 

School-days, College and Home Life, .... 23 

II. My Mother's Statement, 29 

III. Continuation of my Mother's Statement; also 
Sworn Statement of my Father, Dr. Sam- 
uel A. Mudd, 40 

IV. Argument of General Thomas Ewing to the 

Jurisdiction of the Military Commission, . . 49 
V. Argument of General Ewing on the Law and 

the Evidence in the Case of Dr. Mudd 60 

VI. Prison Life at Fort Jefferson in 1865, as Told 

by Dr. Mudd and Others, no 

VII. Prison Life in 1865, Continued — Attempted 

Escape, as Told by my Father, 123 

VIII. Negro Troops at Fort Jefferson, Relieved in 

Part by White Soldiery 139 

IX. Prison Life in 1866 — New Year's Day at Fort 

Jefferson, 154 

X. Prison Life in 1866, Continued — Description 

of Fort Jefferson 171 

XL Prison Life in 1866, Continued — General 
Sheridan Intervenes for Better Treatment 

of Prisoners, igo 

XII. Prison Life in 1866, Continued — Plans for my 
Father's Release by Habeas Corpus Pro- 
ceedings, 212 



XIII. Prison Life in 1867 — Capture of John H. Sur- 

ratt in Egypt, and his Arrival in Washing- 
ton, 219 

XIV. Prison Life in 1867, Continued — Booth's Diary 

Would Have Tended to Establish my 
Father's Innocence Had it Been Offered in 

Evidence — "Somebody Had to Suffer," 237 

XV. Prison Life in 1867, Continued — Ravages of 
Yellow Fever — My Father Assumes Charge 
of the Hospital at Fort Jefferson, 257 

XVI. Prison Life in 1867, Continued — Garrison Re- 
duced by Deaths from Fever — My Father 
Free to Escape, but Chooses to Remain and 
Give "All the Hope and Encouragement 
Possible to the Death-stricken Victims" — Is 

Finally Himself Stricken Down, 274 

XVII. Prison Life in 1867, Continued — The Scourge 
of Yellow Fever Being Ended, my Father is 

Again Put in Chains, 296 

XVIII. Prison Life in 1868— The Withholding of 

Booth's Diary — Surratt's Release, 303 

XIX. The Pardon — Home Coming — Spangler's 

Statement — ^The Closing Scene 318 




Dr. Samuel A. Mudd as he Appeared When 
Working in the Carpenter's Shop in the Prison at 

Fort Jefferson, Frontispiece 

Abraham Lincoln, 24 

Mrs. Samuel A. Mudd 40 

General Thomas Ewing, 60 

Andrew Johnson, 154 

Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas Island, 171 

John Wilkes Booth, 240 


The assassination of Abraham Lincoln startled and 
shocked the civilized world as few events have done in 
the whole course of human history. It occurred at a time 
when, by reason of the termination of the Civil War with 
the surrender of L,ee at Appomattox, there was promise 
and hope of a more kindly feeling between the people of 
the two great sections of the country who, during a 
period of four years, had been arrayed against each other 
in deadly strife. The victors had granted magnanimous 
terms to the vanquished. The conciliatory and generous 
spirit shown by the Commanding General of the victo- 
rious armies in the hour of his crowning success, and to 
which he afterward gave expression in the famous de- 
claration, "Let us have peace," awakened hopeful re- 
sponse in the hearts of the conquered people. 

It was at this point of time, when better and brighter 
days seemed to be dawning for the whole country, that 
the tragedy of Lincoln's death aroused throughout the 
land. North and South, an excitement unparalleled in the 
nation's history. The victim of the assassin had become 
almost deified in the minds of the Northern people. The 
people of the South had learned to respect and honor him 
for his lofty virtues as a man, while conscientiously con- 
demning the administrative policies for which he stood. 
When the estimation in which he was held by the people 
is considered, it is not a matter to cause surprise, al- 
though to be deplored, that the news of the assassination 
excited for the time a feeling of bitterness more intense 
than had existed at any period during the bloody years of 
the Civil War. This feeUng, deplorable but not alto- 
gether unnatural under the circumstances, was so ex- 
treme that, at first, a large number of the Northern people 


were disposed to place the responsibility of L,incoln's 
murder on the whole of the Southern people and to have 
inflicted upon them all vindictive punishment. This 
monstrous idea ultimately gave place to the one not less 
vicious, yet perhaps less far-reaching, that victims, guilty 
or innocent, must be sacrificed to avenge the crime of the 
assassination of the President. To the honor of the vic- 
torious Union army it should be stated that few of 
the soldiery shared in this desire for indiscriminate 
revenge. Among those high in authority in the adminis- 
trative affairs of the nation, however, in a spirit dia- 
metrically at variance with that spirit of magnanimity and 
kindness that had uniformly characterized the course of 
President Lincoln, the determination was deep seated 
that victims must be offered up for sacrifice. 

One of these victims was Dr. Samuel A. Mudd, whose 
sufferings to satisfy the demands thus born of prejudice 
and passion, are set forth in this volume, edited by his 
daughter, then unborn. In this work she has not sought 
to produce effect by ingenuity of argument, or to deduce 
conclusions from premises admitted or assumed. She 
has simply presented to the reader the facts as contained 
in the argument of General Ewing, made in defense of her 
father before the Military Commission before which he 
was tried ; the statement of her mother ; the statement of 
Spangler, one of the alleged "conspirators," who was 
imprisoned in Fort Jefferson for nearly five years; and 
the statement of Dr. Mudd, written while he was in 
prison but which he was not allowed by the authorities 
to give to the public, and which is now for the first time 
published ; together with the letters of her father, writ- 
ten during the long period of his incarceration, and also 
the letters of various other persons relating directly or 
indirectly to the alleged "conspiracy." Upon these facts, 
without comment, she rests the question of the guilt or 


innocence of her father, and submits the matter to the 
consideration of an impartial public. 

The letters of Dr. Mudd, written not for general 
perusal, but for the eyes alone of those very "near and 
dear" to him, reveal the character of the man more accu- 
rately perhaps than it could be revealed in any other 
manner. That he suflfered intensely is apparent; that 
this suffering, which was caused chiefly by his anxiety 
concerning the welfare of his wife and little children, 
should have embittered him as the period of his imprison- 
ment, which he regarded as absolutely unjust, was length- 
ened out from year to year, is neither surprising nor cen- 
surable. This bitterness appears only in his later letters. 
He was a man of culture, of quiet tastes, unostentatious, 
retiring. He preferred the peaceful surroundings of his 
home, the association and love of the members of his 
family, and the friendly intercourse of his neighbors, to 
any participation in the stirring and momentous events 
that were transpiring in his war-ridden country. 

From such peaceful scenes and surroundings of his 
home he was, on the 24th of April, 1865, rudely torn, a 
prisoner charged with complicity in one of the most 
wicked and monstrous crimes that ever cast a stain upon 
the pages of the world's history. At first he seems to 
have scarcely regarded his arrest seriously, but as a mis- 
take, incidental to the disturbed condition of the time, 
that would be speedily corrected. He believed that he 
would soon be restored to his family, and was particu- 
larly solicitous, not about his own fate, but that, during 
his brief absence from home, the work on the farm 
should be properly attended to. In the first letter he 
wrote to his wife, after his arrest, dated from the Carroll 
Prison, he does not speak of any personal discomfort or 
apprehension, but advises her to "try and get some one 
to plant our crop," "hire hands at the prices they de- 
mand," "urge them on all you can and make them work," 


and expresses the hope that his absence may be of short 
duration. This letter is dearly that of an innocent man, 
conscious of his innocence, and believing in his early and 
complete vindication. 

His hopes, however, were not to be realized. "The 
frenzy of madness that ruled the hour," referred to by 
the eminent advocate for the defense, and himself a dis- 
tinguished Union soldier, decreed otherwise. He was 
declared guilty by the military tribunal, and was ulti- 
mately sentenced to be confined for life in Fort Jeffer 
son, on the Dry Tortugas Island, than which no more 
desolate place of imprisonment could have been found 
within the limits of the then United States, or where his 
banishment from his family would have been more com- 
plete. It seems clearly to have been the purpose of the 
Federal authorities to place him beyond the reach of the 
processes of the civil courts. 

Now is shown forth the nobility of his character. He 
bears his misfortunes, as is testified by the distinguished 
attorney who defended him, with "Christian fortitude." 
He is conscious of his innocence, knows his punishment 
to be unjust, yet believes that justice will ultimately 
triumph. Hope was still active and alluring. His 
anxiety was something apparently apart from himself 
and his personal interests and welfare, but existed solely 
on account of his wife and children. In his letter, writ- 
ten on shipboard when he was being carried to the place 
where he was to endure the severest privations as a 
prisoner, probably for life, he tells his wife "not to give 
up hope — take care of the little ones." All through his 
letters there breathes the spirit of true Christian heroism. 
His faith in the goodness and wisdom of a Supreme 
Power seems never to have been shaken. True, as time 
passed on and the rigors of his iinprisonment were in- 
tensified rather than relaxed, and he realized more 
acutely the hardships of his unjust punishment, he 


showed occasionally a tendency toward misanthropy. 
He came to doubt both the gratitude and justice of man, 
but never appears to have doubted the goodness of God. 

In a letter written on Christmas Day, 1865, to his wife, 
he says : "What have I done to bring so much trouble 
upon myself and family? The answer from my inmost 
heart — nothing. I am consoled to know that the greatest 
saints were the most persecuted and the greatest suffer- 
ers, although far be it from classing myself with those 
chosen friends of God. * * * j ii^ve endeavored to 
the best of my ability to lead as spotless and sinless a life 
as in my power." Again, on January i, 1866, he writes 
to his wife: "I can stand anything but the thought of 
your dependent position; the ills and privations conse- 
quent pierce my heart as a dagger." 

As time passed on and he was again and again disap- 
pointed in his hopes of an early release, his desire to 
again be with his family becomes more intense, until it 
seems to dominate his every thought. In one of his 
letters to his wife he says: "I have but one desire, 
namely : to be with you, and to see our dear little chil- 
dren properly trained and educated." One will there- 
fore hesitate to blame him, when the harshness and in- 
justice of his imprisonment are considered, for making 
an effort to escape. This he did in the latter part of the 
year 1865, although he had positively declared in the 
earlier months of his incarceration, his purpose not to try 
to escape, as any effort on his part to do so might seem 
to indicate a consciousness of guilt. The effort, how- 
ever, when made was abortive, and resulted in his being 
subjected to greater hardship of treatment in his im- 
prisonment than he had hitherto endured. He stated, 
after his release from prison, that he had intended to 
escape and reach some point where the writ of habeas 
corpus was in force and available and then surrender 
himself to the authorities, in order that the writ might 


be invoked in his behalf and the legaHty of his trial and 
sentence by the military court tested. 

After his unsuccessful effort to escape he seems to 
have been subjected to cruelties almost beyond the power 
of human endurance. Yet we find him, during the visi- 
tation of the dreaded yellow fever to the island, ready 
and willing to sacrifice his life for the relief of his perse- 
cutors. Rarely has there been shown in the life of any 
man greater heroism and self-abnegation than that 
shown by Dr. Mudd in his course while the fever pre- 
vailed among the soldiers who held him in captivity. To 
minister to them as he did was an exhibition of mag- 
nanimity and self-sacrifice worthy of the highest praise 
that can be ascribed to human conduct. Yet he was to 
show that he had reached a loftier plane of human ex- 
cellence than that evidenced by his mere ministrations to 
the stricken yellow fever sufferers. He had through 
months of wearying, harassing imprisonment, longed to 
get beyond his prison walls. The time came when 
nearly every man of the garrison was helpless from 
fever, when he could have left the island, with no man 
to hinder him. Yet hear what he says : "By the hand of 
Providence my fetters have been broken, yet I run not, 
preferring to share the fate of those around me and to 
lend what aid in my power to breaking down the burning 
fever, overcoming the agonizing delirium, and giving all 
the hope and encouragement possible to the death- 
stricken victims of the pestilence." In this quotation 
from a letter to his brother-in-law, dated October i, 1867, 
and intended not for public perusal, Dr. Mudd's charac- 
ter stands forth as a living exemplification of the loftiest 
Christian charity. When we find that only a little time 
had elapsed after he had written this letter, as he states 
in a letter dated December 7, 1867, he was still in chains, 
under rigorous guard and required to do menial labor, 
can any one censure him for indulging in some harshness 


of expression concerning those responsible for his mis- 
fortunes ? 

Nor can one deny to his wife the highest measure of 
praise for her noble, womanly conduct during all the 
trying ordeals through which she was required to pass. 
Her trials will never be known save to herself and the 
God in whom she unfalteringly trusted. We are given 
some idea of the depth of her suffering, of the laceration 
of her woman's heart, in her letter of January 28, 1866, 
to President Johnson. In "Rachel mourning for her 
children and would not be comforted," no lower note of 
human anguish is sounded than that touched in the heart 
of this wife and mother, as shown in this appeal for jus- 
tice to her husband and the father of her little children. 
Few can read this letter without emotion ; none can read 
it without a measure of profound sympathy, and a yet 
larger measure of admiration, for the faithful woman 
who wrote it. 

Through all the period of her husband's incarceration, 
with resources exhausted in his defense, dependent for 
the maintenance of herself and her children on the 
product of a farm for the tilling of which it was almost 
impossible to procure labor, with anxieties almost in- 
numerable pressing upon her, she bravely struggled on, 
persistently striving to secure her husband's release, and 
writing cheering words to him, bidding him hope. To 
women such as she, for their example alone, the world 
owes a debt of gratitude not easily cancelled. 

In conclusion — just forty-one years have elapsed since 
the death of President Lincoln; the sectional bitterness 
engendered by the civil war has passed away; we have 
in truth a reunited country; North and South alike 
honor the name of Lincoln. Has not the time arrived to 
fully vindicate the name of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd, who 
was so cruelly and unjustly called upon to suffer — and 


to remove from that name even the faintest shadow of 
doubt that may exist regarding his complicity in the 
great crime committed in Ford's Theater, in Washing- 
ton, forty-one years ago ? 

D. EiJ)RiDGS MoNRoe. 
Bai.timore, April 14, ipo6. 


Abraham L,incoln, President of the United States, 
while attending a play in Ford's Theater in Washington, 
on the evening of the fourteenth of April, 1865, was fa- 
tally shot by John Wilkes Booth. In jumping from the 
box in the theater, occupied by the President, and in 
which the infamous act was committed, to the stage, 
Booth fractured a bone in his leg. He nevertheless es- 
caped through a rear entrance to the theater, and mount- 
ing a horse, which he had provided should be kept in 
readiness, escaped by way of the bridge across the East- 
ern Branch of the Potomac River, into southern Mary- 
land. With his features disguised, and in company with 
David E. Herold, he reached the residence of Doctor 
Samuel A. Mudd, in Charles County, thirty miles south 
of Washington, about 4 o'clock on the morning after the 
assassination. Dr. Mudd set the broken bone in Booth's 
leg. As will appear by the following chapters neither Dr. 
Mudd nor any member of his family knew of Booth's 
identity. Both he and Herold gave assumed names. 
They left about 2 o'clock of the same day, and ultimately 
succeeded in crossing the Potomac into Virginia. They 
were discovered in a bam on the farm of a man named 
Garrett, near Port Royal, Virginia, on the morning of 
Wednesday, April 26, 1865. United States officers and 
soldiers surrounded the building. Herold surrendered. 
Booth refused to surrender. The barn was then set on 
fire. Booth approached the door of the barn, as the flames 
surrounded him, and was shot and killed by Sergeant 

In addition to David E. Herold, George A. Atzerodt, 
Mrs. Mary E. Surratt, Lewis Payne, Samuel Arnold, 
Michael O'Loughlin, Edward Spangler, and Dr. Samuel 


A. Mudd were subsequently arrested charged with com- 
plicity in the crime of assassinating the President, "and 
the attempted assassination of the Honorable William H. 
Seward, Secretary of State, and in an alleged conspiracy 
to assassinate other officers of the Federal Government at 
Washington." By an order issued by President Johnson, 
dated May i, 1865, the Adjutant-General was "directed 
to detail nine competent military officers to serve as a 
Commission for the trial of the accused." It was strenu- 
ously contended, by many of the most eminent lawyers of 
the country, that the civil courts alone had jurisdiction to 
try the accused, and that their trial by the Military Com- 
mission was illegal. 

The following officers were detailed on the Commis- 
sion : Maj.-Gen. David Hunter, U. S. V.; Maj.-Gen. 
Lew Wallace, U. S. V.; Brevet Maj.-Gen. August V. 
Kautz, U. S. V. ; Brig.-Gen. Alvin P. Howe, U. S. V. ; 
Brig.-Gen. Robert S. Foster, U. S. V. ; Brevet Brig.-Gen. 
James A. Ekin, U. S. V. ; Brig.-Gen. T. M. Harris, U. S. 
V. ; Brevet Col. C. H. Tompkins, U. S. V. ; Lieut.-Col. 
David R. Clendenin, Eighth Illinois Cavalry. Brig.-Gen. 
Joseph Holt was Judge-Advocate and Recorder of the 
Commission, assisted by Judge-Advocates Burnett and 
Bingham. The Commission held its sittings in a room in 
the old Arsenal Building, in Washington. The Commis- 
sion met May 9, 1865, but adjourned to the loth, to en- 
able the accused to employ counsel. 

The trial began on the latter date, and ended on the 
30th day of June, 1865, when the Commission announced 
its decision. Mrs. Mary E. Surratt, David E. Herold, 
George A. Atzerodt, and Lewis Payne were declared to be 
guilty, and sentenced to be executed July 7, 1865, between 
the hours of 10 o'clock a. m. and 2 o'clock p. m. Dr. 
Samuel A. Mudd, Samuel Arnold, and Michael O'Lough- 
lin were declared to be guilty, and were sentenced to be 
confined for life, at hard labor, in the penitentiary at Al- 


bany, New York. Edward Spangler was declared to he 
guilty, in a lesser degree, and sentenced to be confined in 
the penitentiary at Albany, at hard labor, for a term of six 
years. The penitentiary sentences were subsequently 
modified, by changing the place of imprisonment from 
Albany to Fort Jefferson, on the Dry Tortugas Island, 
Florida. President Johnson approved the findings of the 
Commission on the Sth day of July, 1865. 

On the 7th day of July, 1865, Mrs. Surratt, Herold, 
Atzerodt and Payne were executed by hanging. Strenu- 
ous efforts were made to save the life of Mrs. Surratt, 
but without avail. A writ of habeas corpiis was issued in 
her behalf, by Judge Wylie of the Supreme Bench of the 
District of Columbia, on the application of her legal ad- 
visers, returnable at ten o'clock on the morning set for 
her execution. The military authorities, however, re- 
fused to surrender her. The story of the imprisonment of 
Dr. Mudd, and incidentally that of Arnold, Spangler, and 
O'Loughlin, is told in. the following chapters. Much in- 
formation in relation to the incidents connected with, and 
growing out of, the assassination of President Lincoln, 
and not heretofore published, is also given. 





Dr. Samuel Alexander Mudd, known in his- 
tory as one of the "Lincoln conspirators," was 
born on a large plantation in Charles County, 
Maryland, nearly equidistant five miles be- 
tween the villages of Waldorf and Bryantown, 
fifteen miles from the county seat, La Plata, 
and twenty-five miles from Washington. His 
father, Henry Low Mudd, was a wealthy 
planter and slave owner. His estate, for more 
than a mile, extended along the "Old Mill 
Swamp," gradually rising on the east side of a 
stream known as the Sakiah. The surface of 
the land increased in elevation from the 
"Swamp" until, with a steep upward sweep, it 
ascends to a high hill, sloping toward the north 
and south, the summit crowned with locusts 
and wide-spreading oaks; from these it de- 
rived the name it bears, "Oak Hill." 

On the top of the hill was built the old home- 
stead. In architecture it was not different 
from other houses in the vicinity. Wide, old- 
fashioned halls and spacious rooms, substan- 
tially furnished, formed a comfortable abode 
and place of entertainment for the family and 


visiting guests. At the north wing of the 
house was the schoolroom, where many les- 
sons were learned, perhaps many childish tears 
were shed, and many airy castles were built 
never to be realized. Above this was the home 
chapel. Bed chambers occupied the remainder 
of the second floor. 

Viewed from the nearest point in the valley, 
it presented in appearance a large structure 
without any architecturally definite shape. 
Outside it looked well enough. It seemed to 
the eye roomy and hospitable. A large lawn, 
sloping to the public road, was dotted with 
shrubbery, which contrasted prettily with the 
white background formed by the painted 
weatherboarding of the house. 

Here on December 20, 1833, was born Dr. 
Samuel A. Mudd, who in after years was des- 
tined to involuntarily play so conspicuous a 
part m one of the most important events in the 
nation's history. Amid these rural scenes he 
passed his infancy and childhood. Even from 
his earliest years, he was always thoughtful of 
others, always distinguished for his gentleness 
and kindness. When attending the public 
school, which he began to do when a little boy 
of seven years of age, such was his uniform 
courtesy and consideration for others that the 
companions of his early childhood remained 
his friends for life. 

After a year or two in the public school, his 
father secured a governess for the instruction 
of his children, and he then continued his 

Abraham Lincoliv 



Studies at home with his sisters. Here under 
the tuition of Miss Peterson, the governess, he 
made rapid progress in his studies. At the age 
of about fourteen years he entered St. John's 
College, in Frederick City, Maryland, where 
he spent two years. He then entered George- 
town College, in the District of Columbia, 
where he completed his collegiate course. He 
was particularly interested in the study of lan- 
guages and became proficient in Greek, Latin, 
and French ; and was also a musician of recog- 
nized ability, performing with skill on the vio- 
lin, piano, flute and other instruments. After 
leaving Georgetown College he studied medi- 
cine and surgery in the University of Mary- 
land, Baltimore, where he graduated in March, 
1856. During his last year at the University 
he practiced in the hospital attached to that 
institution, and in recognition of his services 
received from the faculty a complimentary cer- 
tificate of merit at the time he received his 

Again, his college life ended, we find him in 
his old home, amid the friends and scenes of 
his childhood. Here on his father's estate may 
have been seen more than a hundred slaves, 
who made the evenings merry with song, and 
with banjo and violin accompaniment. Scat- 
tered over various sections of the farm may 
also have been seen the "quarters" of these 
humble colored folk, who were always treated 
with the kindest consideration by their mas- 
ter and mistress, and who would say of these 


white friends, after they had passed from 
earth, "God bless my old Marse and Miss; I 
hope dey is in heaven." Here my father began 
his public life as a practicing physician; 
always keeping his old friends by his loyalty 
and uprightness, and continuously adding to 
the list some new ones. It is not too much to 
say, nor should it be charged to filial partiality, 
that to know him was in truth to love him. 
He was the friend of the needy, the consoler 
and comforter of those in distress and trouble. 
He never paused to consider whether those 
needing his ministrations could or could not 
remunerate him. He gave freely of his best 
to all alike. 

About eighteen months after he established 
himself in practice he married Miss Sarah 
Frances Dyer, whom he always in after years, 
as will appear by his letters, addressed as 
"Frank," his schoolmate and childhood's love, 
having been engaged to her four years. At 
the time they became engaged she had just 
graduated from the Visitation Convent, Fred- 
erick City, Maryland. Cardinal Bodeni, the 
first delegate sent to the church by the Pope of 
Rome, conferred on her the graduating honors. 
It may be of some interest to the young people 
of this day to learn how so important a matter 
as the matrimonial engagement was arranged 
at that time. There is perhaps little variation 
between the method of engagement at that 
time and that of the present. My mother, after 
my earnest solicitation to learn more of this 


important event, at last consented to say, 
"There was nothing romantic in our little love 
affair. I was only seventeen and Sam eighteen 
years of age, so it was impossible to think of 
getting married just then. When Sam asked 
me, 'Frank, are you going to marry me?' I 
answered, 'Yes, when you have graduated in 
medicine, established a practice for yourself, 
and I have had my fun out, then I'll marry you. 
You need not get jealous; I vow I will never 
marry any one else.' " This seems to have 
settled matters, and on the 26th of November, 
1857, they were married in her home, which 
was only a few miles distant from where my 
father then lived. During the two years fol- 
lowing they resided at the home where they 
were married, with her elder brother, Mr. Jere 
Dyer, who was a bachelor, and whose name 
appears frequently in the succeeding chapters. 
After this they moved into their own home, 
which my mother still occupies. From this to 
the time of the Civil War life moved on 
smoothly, she being busy with her household 
duties and the care of her little ones, and he 
being fully occupied in attending to his prac- 
tice and to the farm. 

While Maryland never seceded from the 
Union, the war brought much distress and sor- 
row to many homes and hearts within her bor- 
ders. Her people, especially in the southern 
part of the State, where the number of slaves 
was large, were subjected to many of the in- 
conveniences and hardships suffered by the 


people in the States of the Confederacy. The 
negroes, very soon after the war commenced, 
became imbued with the idea of freedom, and 
as this idea gained stronger hold in their minds 
their efficiency as servants diminished. When 
President Lincoln issued the Emancipation 
Proclamation on January 1, 1863, declaring the 
freedom of the slaves in the States that had 
seceded, the moral effect on the negroes in 
Maryland was such that they were of little 
value to their owners. Their demoralization 
as laborers was almost complete. Subse- 
quently, when slavery was abolished in the 
State by constitutional provision, they almost 
uniformly refused to work for their former 
owners, even for highly remunerative wages. 
Of course, in my father's home, there were ex- 
perienced these conditions. He had to pay 
twice the value of their services to the emanci- 
pated colored people in order to make even a 
partial crop, or to retain them as servants 
about his dwelling. 

This was the state of affairs on my father's 
farm at the time Booth fired the fatal shot, in 
Ford's Theater, by which the life of the Presi- 
dent was destroyed. The fact that these con- 
ditions did exist made it much harder for my 
father to bear his imprisonment. He was de- 
voted to his family. He knew that my mother 
would find it to be almost impossible to obtain 
labor to cultivate the farm. He was at all 
times, during his long imprisonment, bur- 
dened, indeed almost tortured, by the fear that 
she and the children might come to want. 


MY mother's statement 

The following very full statement was writ- 
ten by my mother: 

The first time I ever saw John Wilkes Booth was in 
November, 1864. My husband went to Bryan town 
Church, and was introduced to Booth by John 
Thompson, an old friend from Baltimore, who asked 
my husband if he knew of any one who had a good 
riding-horse for sale; to which he replied, "My next 
neighbor has one." After this they made arrange- 
ments for Booth to come up to our hom^e that evening 
to see about buying this horse. There was company 
in the house and supper was just over, when my hus- 
band came in and asked me to prepare for a stranger. 
My husband came in with the stranger and made the 
necessary introductions. The conversation was on 
general topics. Nothing relative to the Administra- 
tion or the war was spoken of by any one present. 
After supper, Booth joined the visitors and remained 
in general conversation until bedtime, which was 
about 9.30 o'clock. I did not see Booth again until at 
the breakfast table the next morning. 

After breakfast the horses were ordered. Booth 
tied his at the gate, and my husband threw the bridle 
rein of his horse over his arm and walked along with 
Booth across the field to Squire George Gardiner's. 
Booth soon returned, came in and got his overcoat 
which he had thrown over the back of a chair in the 
parlor, said good-by, and rode away. The horse he 
purchased was sent to him at Bryantown that even- 


ing. After he had gone I went to the parlor to put 
things in order. Lying on the floor by the chair that 
had held his overcoat was a letter, not enclosed in an 
envelope, that had fallen from his pocket. I picked it 
up and almost involuntarily glanced at the headlines. 
These lines convinced me that some poor man's home 
had been wrecked by the handsome face and wily ways 
of Booth. The letter was from New York ; but I did 
not look at the name of the writer, and I do not know 
to this day who she was. I laid it on the table, hoping 
to be able to find some means of returning it to him. 
As he never returned, I subsequently threw it in the 

About 4 A. M. on the isth of April, 1865, I heard a 
rap on the door, and as my husband was not feeling 
well he asked me if I would not go and see who it was. 
I replied, "I would rather you would go and see for 
yourself." He arose and went to the door in his night 
clothes. I heard some one talking in the hall, and 
footsteps as they passed into the parlor. My husband 
returned and told me there was a man out there with 
his leg broken. He asked me to tear some strips for 
bandages. I did so. Afterward I heard my husband 
and a third man assisting the injured man up-stairs. 
The Doctor returned, and went to bed himself. At 6 
o'clock I arose, called the servants to get breakfast, 
and at 7 waked my husband. He sent a servant to 
tell the man who called himself "Tyson" (and who 
afterward proved to be Herold) to come to breakfast. 
I then prepared breakfast for the sick man, put it on 
a tray, and sent it to his room by a servant; told her 
to place it on the table by his bed and come down.' 
Tyson and my husband then came to the table, and 
while at breakfast Tyson asked the Doctor if he knew 
many persons in the lower part of the county near the 
river. To which he replied in the negative. Tyson 


spoke of a good many families that he knew. The 
Doctor knew some of the parties spoken of, others he 
did not know. This led me to ask Tyson, "Are you a 
resident of the county?" He replied, "No, ma'am, but 
I have been frolicking around for five or six months." 
He looked so boyish that I remarked, "All play and 
no work makes jack a bad boy. Your father ought 
to make you go to work." He answered me, "My 
father is dead, and I am ahead of the old lady." 

At this time he seemed not to have a care in the 
world. Turning to my husband he asked the distance 
to the river. The Doctor replied, "About eighteen or 
twenty miles." Tyson then remarked, "We are on 
our way to the river; which is the nearest road we 
could take?" There was a road leading across the 
Sakiah which my husband usually took in attending 
to his practice, and as it was the shortest way, told him 
of it. Afterward I saw the Doctor standing in the 
back yard pointing across the swamp. Tyson then 
came into the house and went up-stairs, I presume to 
sleep. I heard no more from either of the strangers 
till dinner. When the doctor returned to dinner 
Tyson came down, and I sent the servant up to the 
sick man's room with his dinner. The servant re- 
turned and brought down the dinner and breakfast 
dishes, and I found he had not eaten anything during 
the day. 

At dinner Tyson asked the Doctor if he thought he 
could procure a carriage in the neighborhood to carry 
his friend away. My husband replied, "I am going 
to Bryantown to get the mail and see some sick, and if 
you will ride along with me to the village, perhaps you 
can get a carriage there." As they were leaving the 
house I asked my husband if I could go up and see the 
sick man. "Yes, certainly you can," he replied. As 
he had taken nothing to eat during the day, I took up 


to his room some cake, a couple of oranges, and some 
wine on a tray. I placed the tray on the table by the 
bed, asked him how he was feeling and if I could do 
anything for him. His reply was, "My back hurts me 
dreadfully. I must have hurt it when the horse fell 
and broke my leg." I asked him if he would take the 
cake and wine; he refused. He then wished to know if 
the Doctor had any brandy. I told him no, but that 
he had some good whiskey, and offered to get him 
some, but he declined. I remarked, "I guess you 
think I have very little hospitality ; you have been sick 
all day and I have not been up to see you ;" and again 
asked if I could do anything for him, to which he did 
not reply — his face being all the time turned to the 
wall. I then left the room. 

I went down to the kitchen, where the servants were 
preparing for the "Easter Sunday dinner." After a 
short while Tyson rapped from the outside on the 
kitchen window. I went to the front door, opened it, 
and asked if he succeeded in procuring a carriage. 
He replied, "No, ma'am; we stopped over at the 
Doctor's father's and asked for his carriage, but to- 
morrow being Easter Sunday, his family had to go to 
church, and he could not spare it. I then rode 
some distance down the road with the Doctor, and 
then concluded to return and try the horses." 

He went up-stairs. I heard them moving around 
the room and in a short time they came down, the 
man calling himself Tyler (who afterward proved to 
be Booth) hobbling on a stick which our old gardener, 
Mr. John Best, an Englishman, had sent up to him at 
the request of Tyson. When they came down I was 
standing in the hall at the foot of the stairs. Tyler 
wore heavy whiskers; these proved to be false, and 
became partially detached as he came down the stairs. 
So much of his face as could be seen presented a 


picture of agony. I told Tyson if he must go to do 
so, but to please leave his friend here, we would take 
care of him, although the discovery of the false 
whiskers aroused my suspicions. Tyson's reply was, 
"If he suffers much we won't go far. I will take him 
to my lady-love's, not far from here." They passed 
out of the door. Tyson helped Tyler to get on his 
horse, then mounted his own horse and they rode 
away. I did not see either of them after this. 

About an hour afterward my husband returned and 
told me of the assassination of the President, and that 
there were soldiers in Bryantown looking for the 
assassin. A short while after this he remarked, 
"Frank, those men were suspicious characters. I will 
go to Bryantown and tell the officers." I agreed with 
him as to the suspicious character of the men, and told 
him about the false whiskers, but begged him not to 
go — I was afraid to remain in the house without him ; 
and as the next day was Sunday, asked him to send 
word to the soldiers from church, which he did. Dr. 
George D. Mudd, of Bryantown, being the messenger. 
He heard no further from them, and on Monday went 
to see his sick patients. Tuesday he did the same 
thing, going out in the morning and returning about 
twelve o'clock. In the afternoon Dr. George Mudd 
came to the house with some soldiers and asked a 
description of the two men. 

My husband, in my presence, gave them all the in- 
formation he could. They then left and returned on 
Friday, when there was another conversation in the 
hall. My husband told them there was a boot, which 
he had cut from the man's leg, found in the room 
after he left, and went up-stairs to get it. The ser- 
vant while cleaning the room had thrown it under the 
bed. My husband did not find the boot, and I sent 


Martha, the housegirl, to get it for him. He brought 
down the boot, and gave it to the officer in command, 
who took it and examined it. On the inside was 

written, "J. Wilkes ." One of them said, "A 

part of the name has been effaced"; so I asked if I 
could see it. The officer held it in his hand while I 
looked at it. Then I remarked, "No, that is only a 
dash, there was no other name there." When they 
left they required my husband to go with them to 
Bryantown. I do not know what happened at 
Bryantown, but that night my husband came home, 
and was requested to return the next morning, which 
he did. Again he returned in the evening. The next 
day, being Sunday, he went to church. On Monday 
an officer with three soldiers came to our house. 
They had two colored men from the farm of the 
Doctor's father, who were riding two horses also 
taken from his father's place. 

Then they called for two hired hands on our farm, 
made them get horses from the stable; one of them 
saddled the Doctor's horse, and then they all left for 
Washington. When the officer saw how grieved I 
was (I am sorry I do not know his name, for he 
showed some heart and feeling), he returned to the 
house and said to me, "Do not grieve and fret that 
way, I'll see that your husband soon returns to you" ; 
but it was four long years before he saw his home. 
About a week after his departure from home I re- 
ceived the following brief note from him : 

"Carroll Prison, April 29, 1865. 
"My dearest Frank : 

"I am very well. Hope you and the children are 
enjoying a like blessing. Try and get some one to 
plant our crop. It is very uncertain what time I shall 
be released from here. Hire hands at the prices they 


demand. Urge them on all you can and make them 

"I am truly in Hopes my stay here will be short, 
when I can return again to your fond embrace and 
our little children." 

A few days later a company of soldiers were 
stationed on our farm. They burned the fences, de- 
stroyed the wheat and tobacco crops; pulled the 
boards off the corn-house, so that the corn fell out on 
the ground, and all the corn that the horses could not 
eat was trampled under their hoofs in such a way as 
to render it unfit for use. The meat-house was 
broken open and the meat taken out. All that they 
could not eat was left scattered on the hillside where 
they had pitched their camps. A day or so after 
their arrival my husband's sister came over to see me. 
She wanted some garden seeds, and asked me to go 
down with her to the old gardener, Mr. John Best, to 
get them for her. When we went out no soldiers were 
in sight. We carried a basket, and the old man tied 
up some seeds in packages, put them in the basket, 
and then asked us to go to see his garden. A few 
moments after we entered the garden we were sur- 
i-ounded by soldiers. One officer came over and de- 
manded to know what we had in the basket. The 
little packages of seeds were unwrapped, the contents 
examined. With a crest-fallen look he remarked, "I 
thought you were carrying food to Booth." 

A couple of days after this a negro regiment from 
Popes Creek came up the Sakiah Swamp in search of 
Booth. When they were opposite the house they 
turned and entered the valley leading up the hill at 
the back of the house. They passed around the house, 
which was guarded by two young men, left by 
William P. Wood, keeper of the old Capitol Prison in 


Washington. These young men were instructed to 
shoot any one who dared to enter the yard. The 
negro regiment did not stop to search the house or its 
surroundings. Mr. Wood and two other detectives 
had their headquarters in the house, and went out 
during the day in search of Booth, returning at night. 
One night Mr. Wood did not return, and the officers 
in command of the troops on the farm placed a guard 
around the house and forbade any one leaving or 
entering the house. I was alone with four little chil- 
dren and a colored woman. 

Some of the soldiers came around the house and 
began talking impudently to the colored woman. I 
called her in, locked the door, and drew down the 
curtains, not knowing whether I would be dead or 
alive the next morning. I lighted the lamp in the 
dining-room, put the children lo bed, and with the 
colored woman sat there till two o'clock in the morn- 
ing. At this time I heard a rap at the door, and a 
familiar voice call me. It was a cousin of mine, 
Sylvester Mudd, who had risked his life by coming 
within the lines, knowing I was alone. I could not 
have been more glad to see an angel from heaven 
than I was to see him. The next day the information 
came that Booth and Her old had been captured. The 
bugle was sounded, the roll called, and the soldiers 
left on their march to Washington. 

For a little while there was a lull in the storm. My 
husband, previous to his trial, was placed in the old 
Carroll Prison in Washington with the others, none 
of whom he had ever seen before except Herold ; and 
the only time he had ever seen him was when he came 
to our house with Booth on the morning after the as- 
sassination of the President. 

I engaged General Ewing to defend my husband. 
He was not only a lawyer of ability, but had distin- 


guished himself for bravery in the Union army dur- 
ing the war. In this case he proved himself not only 
a lawyer of merit, but a true friend during my hus- 
band's trial and imprisonment. Whenever he saw the 
least shadow of hope, he would write me nice friendly 
and cheering letters, which I sometimes think must 
have kept me from despair. 

During the trial, which commenced on May lo, 
1865, the Doctor's friends and myself were shocked 
and surprised at the base and false testimony permit- 
ted to be given against him. Daniel Thomas, one of 
the leading witnesses for the prosecution, was an out- 
cast from his home. His brother swore he would not 
believe him on his oath. Years afterward he was 
arrested and convicted on the charge of the commis- 
sion of pension frauds, and died in the penitentiary. 
His reason for giving the false evidence was to secure 
a part of the large reward offered by the Government 
for the capture and conviction of Booth and those 
thought to be his accomplices. Norton, Evans, a 
number of the negroes, and several others, also swore 
notoriously false. 

With all this false testimony his life was spared, but 
he was sentenced to a life imprisonment on a lonely, 
dreary island in mid-ocean. Several times during the 
trial I had occasion to go to Washington. On more 
than one of these occasions, while I was at General 
Ewing's office, I met Mrs. Browning, wife of Secre- 
tary of Interior Browning, a member of President 
Johnson's Cabinet. One day she told me that her 
husband and herself took breakfast at a restaurant in 
Washington, where General Lew Wallace, a member 
of the Military Commission that condemned my hus- 
band, also breakfasted. In the course of the conversa- 
tion she had with General Wallace at the breakfast 
table he remarked, "If Booth had not broken his leg. 


we would never have heard the name of Dr. Mudd." 
Mrs. Browning said to him, "Why don't you then send 
Dr. Mudd home to his wife and children?" General 
Wallace then replied, "The deed is done; somebody 
must suffer for it, and he may as well suffer as any- 
body else." In order to be perfectly fair, my daughter 
wrote to Mrs. Wallace as to the correctness of this 
statement, and received the following note in reply : 

"Crawfordsville, Ind., September i8, 1905. 
"Dear Miss Mudd : 

"Mrs. Wallace says she has no remembrance of 
hearing General Wallace say anything about Dr. 
Mudd that was like the sentence you quote. 
"Truly yours, 



A few days after my return from Washington, after 
the date of this conversation with Mrs. Browning, I 
saw an ambulance drive up to the house. Lieutenant 
Baker and Daniel Thomas got out of it and came in. 
Lieutenant Baker said, "Mrs. Mudd, we came to take 
you to Washington. I presume you know Daniel 
Thomas." I replied in the presence of both, "Knowing 
Mr. Thomas as I do, and not knowing you, I must look 
upon you as a gentleman ; and if I must go to Wash- 
ington, it will be under your protection and not that 
of Daniel Thomas." I then told Lieutenant Baker 
that my brother, Jere Dyer, would visit my home, 
from Baltimore, that evening, and that I would go to 
Washington the next day with my brother if that 
would be satisfactory. He replied, "I will trust you." 
They then left. 

That evening my brother came, and the next day 
we took the stage for Washington, there being no 


railroad in this portion of the State at that time. 
When the stage arrived at Capitol Hill, Washington, 
I heard the clanking of swords, and an officer came up 
to the stage and asked if Mrs. Mudd was there. My 
brother answered, "Yes." The officer then called a 
carriage, and my brother and myself were driven to 
General Baker's office. In a few moments after our 
arrival there, the General, who was a brother of the 
lieutenant who came with Thomas to my home, 
entered the room and spoke to both of us, then left, I 
presume to consult with some one else. When he 
returned he told me to go to a hotel and send the hotel 
bill to him. I asked him if I could not go to the home 
of my cousin, Mr. Alexander Clark. To which he 
replied, "Yes, but return here to-morrow morning at 
ten o'clock." 

The next morning, at the hour mentioned, I went to 
General Baker's office, and was not kept waiting many 
minutes before he came in. I told him if there was 
any information I could give him, please to let me get 
through as soon as possible, as I had left four little 
children at home, and no responsible person to take 
care of them. Without asking me a question he re- 
marked, "Mrs. Mudd, stay over till two o'clock, and 
if I do not send for you, you can go home." No 
messenger came, and my brother hired a carriage and 
brought me home. 



I only saw my husband once after he was taken 
from home, and that was after his trial. I went to 
Washington, procured a pass from the War Depart- 
ment, and went to the old Arsenal. This was the day 
before the hanging of Mrs. Surratt, Herold, Atzerodt, 
and Payne. The workmen were then building, in the 
yard below, the scaffold on which they were to be 
hung. General Dana sent a messenger up to the 
second floor with me, and in a few moments my hus- 
band was brought from a cell. He was in his shirt 
sleeves and wore a pair of carpet slippers without 
socks. He said one of the guards told him who was to 
be hung, and what his sentence was. There were 
several guards in the room where we were. I noticed 
that his ankle was sore, and I asked if it was caused 
by the chains he had to wear. He paused a few 
moments, then answered, hesitatingly, as though 
afraid to say otherwise, in presence of the guards, 
"No." As I was leaving the Arsenal I met a poor 
girl who was weeping bitterly, and was told it was 
Anna Surratt, who had returned from the White 
House, where she went to plead for the life of her 
mother, but had been refused admittance to the Presi- 

I came home, and only a few days later read in the 
papers that Spangler, Arnold, O'Laughlin and my 
husband were on their way to the Dry Tortugas. Two 
days after this I received a letter from the Doctor, 

Mrs. Samuel A. Mudd 



which was written on board the ship and mailed at 
Charleston, where a short stop was made. In this let- 
ter he asked me not to give up hope; to take care of 
the little ones and at some future day he would be at 
home with us. This seemed to give me courage, and 
I began to work with renewed efforts to try to secure 
his release. 

About the 2d of August I went to Washington to 
see Secretary of War Stanton, and asked him if I 
could not send my husband money and clothes to make 
him comfortable. He gazed at me in silence for a 
few moments, then said, "As long as Dr. Mudd is in 
prison the Government will furnish him with what it 
thinks necessary for him to have, and he can have no 
communication whatsoever with the outside world." 
I turned my back and walked out, not even saying 
good morning. In a short while I received the fol- 
lowing letter from Secretary Stanton, written by E. 
D. Townsend, Assistant Adjutant-General: 

"War Department, 
"Adjutant-General's Office, 
"Washington, Sept. 30, 1865. 
"Mrs. Dr. Mudd, 

"Bryantown, Charles County, Md. 

"Madam: Your application of the 2d of August 
to know if you would be allowed to communicate with 
your husband. Dr. Mudd, and if so by what means, 
and whether you are at liberty to send to him clothing 
and articles of comfort and money, from home, has 
been considered by the Secretary of War. 

"Dr. Mudd will be permitted to receive communica- 
tions from you, if enclosed, unsealed, to the Adjutant- 
General of the Army at Washington. The Govern- 
ment provides suitable clothing and all necessary sub- 


sistence in such cases, and neither clothing nor money 
will be allowed to be furnished him. 

"I am, Madam, very respectfully 

"Your obedient servant, 


"Assistant Adjutant General." 

The following is a sworn statement written by my 
husband while he was a prisoner in Fort Jefferson, and 
which he was not permitted by the authorities to have 
published. He sent it to me in a letter about the ist of 
October, 1865. This statement was made to correct 
erroneous statements, which had appeared in the pub- 
lic press, allegedly quoting my husband. 

August 28, 1865. 

1st. That I confessed to having known Booth while 
in my house; was afraid to give information of the 
fact, fearing to endanger my life, or made use of any 
language in that connection — I positively and em- 
phatically declare to be notoriously false. 

2d. That I was satisfied and willingly acquiesced in 
the wisdom and decision of the Military Commission 
who tried me, is again notoriously erroneous and false. 
On the contrary I charged it (the Commission) with 
irregularity, injustice, usurpation, and illegality. I 
confess to being animated at the time but have no 
recollection of having apologized. 

3d. I did confess to a casual or accidental meeting 
with Booth in front of one of the hotels on Pennsyl- 
vania avenue, Washington, D. C, on the 23d of De- 
cember, 1864, and not on the 15th of January, 1865, 
as testified to by Weichman. Booth, on that occasion, 
desired me to give him an introduction to Surratt, 
from whom he said he wished to obtain a knowledge 
of the country around Washington, in order to be able 


to select a good locality for a country residence. He 
had the number, street, and name of John Surratt, 
written on a card, saying, to comply with his request 
would not detain me over five minutes. (At the time 
I was not aware that Surratt was a resident of Wash- 
ington.) I declined at first, stating I was with a rela- 
tive and friend from the country and was expecting 
some friends over from Baltimore, who intended go- 
ing down with me to spend Christmas, and was by 
appointment expected to be at the Pennsylvania 
House by a certain hour — eight o'clock. We started 
down one street, and then up another, and had not 
gone far before we met Surratt and Weichman. 

Introductions took place, and we turned back in the 
direction of the hotel. Arriving there, Booth insisted 
on our going to his room and taking something to 
drink with him, which I declined for reasons above 
mentioned; but finding that Weichman and Surratt 
were disposed to accept — I yielded, remarking, I could 
not remain many minutes. After arriving in the room, 
I took the first opportunity presented to apologize to 
Surratt for having introduced to him Booth — a man I 
knew so little concerning. This conversation took 
place in the passage in front of the room and was not 
over three minutes in duration. Whilst Surratt and 
myself were in the hall, Booth and Weichihan were 
sitting on the sofa in a corner of the room looking 
over some Congressional documents. Surratt and 
myself returned and resumed our former seats (after 
taking drinks ordered), around a center table, which 
stood midway the room and distant seven or eight 
feet from Booth and Weichman. Booth remarked 
that he had been down in the country a few days be- 
fore, and said he had not yet recovered from the fa- 
tigue. Afterward he said he had been down in Charles 
County, and had made me an offer for the purchase 


of my land, which I confirmed by an affirmative an- 
swer ; and he further remarked that on his way up he 
lost his way and rode several miles off the track. 
When he said this he left his seat and came over and 
took a seat immediately by Surratt; taking from his 
pocket an old letter, he began to draw lines, in order 
to ascertain from Surratt the location and description 
of the roads. I was a mere looker on. The conversa- 
tion that took place could be distinctly heard to any 
part of the room by any one paying attention. There 
was nothing secret to my knowledge that took place, 
with the exception of the conversation of Surratt and 
myself, which I have before mentioned. I had no 
secret conversation with Booth, nor with Booth and 
Surratt together, as testified to by Weichman. I never 
volunteered any statement of Booth having made me 
an offer for the purchase of my land, but made an 
affirmative response only to what Booth said in that 

Booth's visit in November, 1864, to Charles County 
was for the purpose, as expressed by himself, to pur- 
chase land and horses; he was inquisitive concerning 
the political sentiments of the people, inquiring about 
the contraband trade that existed between the North 
and South, and wished to be informed about the roads 
bordering on the Potomac, which I declined doing. 
He spoke of his being an actor and having two other 
brothers, who also were actors. He spoke of Junius 
Brutus as being a good Republican. He said they 
were largely engaged in the oil business, and gave me 
a lengthy description of the theory of oil and the 
process of boring, etc. He said he had a younger 
brother in California. These and many minor mat- 
ters spoken of caused me to suspect him to be a Gov- 
ernment detective and to advise Surratt regarding 


We were together in Booth's room about fifteen 
minutes, after which, at my invitation, they walked up 
to the Pennsylvania House, where the conversation 
that ensued between Weichman and myself as testified 
to by him is in the main correct — only that he, of the 
two, appeared the better Southern man, and under- 
took to give me facts from his office to substantiate his 
statements and opinions. This was but a short time 
after the defeat of Hood in Tennessee. The papers 
stated that over nine thousand prisoners had been 
taken, and that the whole of Hood's army was de- 
moralized and falling back, and there was every pros- 
pect of his whole army being either captured or de- 
stroyed. To this Weichman replied that only four 
thousand prisoners had been ordered to be provided 
for by the Commissary-General, and that he was far 
from believing the defeat of Hood so disastrous. I 
spoke with sincerity, and said it was a blow from 
which the South never would be able to recover ; and 
that the whole South then laid at the mercy of Sher- 
man. Weichman seemed, whilst on the stand, to be 
disposed to give what he believed a truthful statement. 
I am in hopes the above will refresh his memory, and 
he will do me the justice, though late, to correct his 
erroneous testimony. 

To recapitulate — ^I made use of no such statement 
as reported by the "Washington Correspondent of the 
New York Times," only in the sense and meaning as 
testified to by Dr. George D. Mudd, and as either mis- 
understood or misrepresented by Colonel Wells and 
others before the Commission. 

I never saw Mrs. Surratt in my life to my knowl- 
edge previous to the assassination, and then only 
through her veil. I never saw Arnold, O'Loughlin, 
Atzerodt, Payne alias Powel, or Spangler — or ever 
heard their names mentioned previous to the assassina- 


tion of the President. I never saw or heard of Booth 
after the 23d of December, 1864, until after the assas- 
sination, and then he was in disguise. I did not know 
Booth whilst in my house, nor did I know Herold; 
neither of whom made himself known to me. And I 
further declare they did not make known to me their 
true destination before I left the house. They in- 
quired the way to many places and desired particularly 
to go to the Rev. Mr. Wilmer's. 

I gave a full description of the two parties (whom 
I represented as suspicious) to Lieutenant Lovett and 
three other oiificers, on the Tuesday after the assassina- 
tion. I gave a description of one horse — the other I 
never took any notice of, and do not know to this day 
the color or appearance. Neither Booth's nor Herold's 
name was mentioned in connection with the assassina- 
tion, nor was there any name mentioned on the Tues- 
day after the assassination, nor was there any name 
mentioned in connection with the assassination, nor 
was there any photograph exhibited of any one impli- 
cated in the infamous deed. I was merely called upon 
to give a description of the men and horses and the 
places they inquired. The evidence of the four detec- 
tives — Lovett, Gavacan, Lloyd, and Williams — con- 
flict (unintentionally) vitally on this point; they evi- 
dently prove and disprove the fact as they have done 
in every instance affecting my interest, or upon points 
in which my welfare was at issue. Some swore that 
the photograph of Booth was exhibited on Tuesday, 
which was false. I do not advert to the false testi- 
mony; it is evident to the reader, and bears the im- 
press of foul play and persecution somewhere — it may 
be owing to the thirst after the enormous reward of- 
fered by the Government, or a false idea for notoriety. 
Evans and Norton evidently swore falsely and per- 
jured themselves. Daniel L Thomas was bought by 


the detectives — likewise the negroes who swore against 
me. The court certainly must have seen that a great 
deal of the testimony was false and incompetent — • 
upon this I charge them with injustice, etc. 

Reverend Evans and Norton — I never saw nor 
heard their names in my life. I never knew, nor have 
I any knowledge whatsoever, of John Surratt ever 
visiting Richmond. I had not seen him previous to the 
23d of December, 1864, for more than nine months. 
He was no visitor to my house. 

The detectives, Lovett, Gavacan, Lloyd, and Wil- 
liams, having failed to search my house or to make any 
inquiries whether the parties left anything behind on 
the Tuesday after the assassination, I myself did not 
think — consequently did not remind them. A day or 
two after their leaving, the boot that was cut from the 
injured man's leg by myself, was brought to our at- 
tention, and I resolved on sending it to the military 
authorities, but it escaped my memory and I was not 
reminded of its presence until the Friday after the as- 
sassination, when Lieutenant Lovett and the above 
parties, with a squad of cavalry, came again and asked 
for the razor the party shaved with. I was then re- 
minded immediately of the boot and, without hesita- 
tion, I told them of it and the circumstances. I had 
never examined the inside of boot leg, consequently 
knew nothing about a name which was there contained. 
As soon as I handed the boot to Lieutenant Lovett, 
they examined and discovered the name "J- Wilkes" ; 
they then h'anded me his photograph, and asked 
whether it bore any resemblance to the party, to which 
I said I would not be able to recognize that as the man 
(injured), but remarked that there was a resemblance 
about the eyes and hair. Herold's likeness was also 
handed me, and I could not see any resemblance, but 
I had described the horse upon which he rode, which. 


one of the detectives said, answered exactly to the one 
taken from one of the stables in Washington. 

From the above facts and circumstances I was en- 
abled to form a judgment, which I expressed without 
hesitation, and I said that I was convinced that the 
injured man was Booth, the same man who visited my 
house in November, 1864, and purchased a horse from 
my neighbor, George Gardiner. I said this because I 
thought my judgment in the matter was necessary to 
secure pursuit promptly of the assassins 



May it please the Court: The first great question 
that meets us at the threshold is — Do you, gentlemen, 
constitute a court, and have you jurisdiction, as a 
court, of the persons accused, and the crimes with 
which they are charged? If you have such jurisdic- 
tion, it must have been conferred by the Constitution, 
or some law consistent with it, and carrying out its 

I. The 5th article of the Constitution declares: 
"That the judicial power of the United States shall be 
vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior 
coiirts as Congress may from time to time ordain and 
establish" ; and that "the judges of both Supreme and 
inferior courts shall hold their offices during good be- 

Under this provision of the Constitution, none but 
courts ordained or established by Congress can exer- 
cise judicial power, and those courts must be com- 
posed of judges who hold their offices during good be- 
havior. They must be independent judges, free from 
the influence of Executive power. Congress has not 
"ordained and established" you a court, or authorized 
you to call these parties before you and sit upon their 
trial, and you are not "judges" who hold your offices 
during good behavior. You are, therefore, no court 


under the Constitution, and have no jurisdiction in 
these cases, unless you obtain it from some other 
source, which overrules this constitutional provision. 

The President cannot confer judicial power upon 
you, for he has it not. The executive, not the judicial, 
power of the United States is vested in him. His man- 
date, no matter to what man or body of men addressed, 
to try, and, if convicted, to sentence to death a citizen, 
not of the naval or military forces of the United States, 
carries with it no authority which could be pleaded in 
justification of the sentence. It were no better than the 
simple mandate to take A, B, C, D, E, F, and G H, 
and put them to death. 

2. The President, under the 5th amendment to the 
Constitution, may constitute courts pursuant to the 
Articles of War, but he cannot give them jurisdiction 
over citizens. This article provides that "no person 
shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise in- 
famous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment 
of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or 
naval forces, or in the militia when in actual service in 
time of war or public danger. 

The presentment or indictment of a grand jury is a 
thing unknown to and inconsistent with your commis- 
sion. You have nothing of the kind. Neither you nor 
the law officers who control your proceedings seem to 
have thought of any such thing. These defendants 
did not and do not belong to the "land or naval forces" 
of the United States — nor were they "militia, in time 
of war or public danger, in actual service." The Con- 
stitution, therefore, in the article above cited, expressly 
says : You shall not hold them to answer to any of 
the capital and infamous crimes with which they are 

Is not a single, direct, constitutional prohibition, for- 
bidding you to take jurisdiction in these cases, suffi- 


cient ? If it be not, read the provision of the 3d section 
of the 3d article. It is as follows : "The trial of all 
crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by 

But lest this should not be enough, in their anxious 
care to provide against the abuses from which England 
had recently escaped and which were still fresh in the 
memories of men, — as the Star Chamber, the High 
Commission Courts, and their attendant enormities, — ■ 
the framers of the Constitution further provided, in 
the 6th amendment, that, "In all criminal prosecutions 
the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public 
.trial by an impartial jury of the State and district 
wherein the crime shall have been committed." 

Now whence, and what, is the authority which over- 
rules these distinct constitutional prohibitions, and em- 
powers you to hold these citizens to answer, despite the 
mandates of the Constitution forbidding you ? 

Congress has not attempted to grant to you the 
power; Congress could not grant it. A law to that 
effect, against the constitutional prohibition, would be 
merely void. Congress has authorized the suspension 
of the writ of habeas corpus, as the Constitution per- 
mits (Art. I, Sec. 99) ; but the Constitution does not 
thereby permit the military to try, nor has Congress 
attempted to deliver over to the military, for trial, 
judgment and execution, American citizens, not in the 
land or naval forces, or in the militia in actual service, 
zvhen accused of crime. Congress and the President, 
the lawmaking power, were incompetent to do this, 
and have not attempted it. Whence, then, comes the 
dispensation with the constitutional prohibition? 
Where and whence is the affirmative grant of jurisdic- 
tion under which you propose to try, and, if convicted, 
pass sentence upon, these men, citizens of the United 
States — not soldiers, not militiamen, but citizens, en- 


gaged in the ordinary avocations of life ? I am not per- 
mitted to know. Congress has not in any form at- 
tempted to violate or impair the Constitution. They 
have suspended the writ of habeas corpus; this goes to 
imprisonment — not trial, conviction, or punishment. 
This is the extreme limit to which the lawmaking 
power is permitted to go, and it is only in cases of 
strong necessity that this is permitted. Congress has 
repealed so much of the I02d section of the Act of 
September 24, 1789, as required that in all capital cases 
twelve petit jurors should be summoned from the 
county in which the offense was committed ( Par. 22 1 , 
Sec. 102, repealed July 16, 1862, page 1164, Sec. 22), 
but has preserved all other legal provisions made 
in aid of the Constitution to protect citizens 
from the oppression of the unregulated and unre- 
strained Executive power. The accused shall be 
tried upon an indictment or presentment of a grand 
jury. If two or more crimes of a Hke nature be 
charged, they must be set forth in separate counts. 
(Act of February 26, 1853, Sec. 117.) You may not 
compel an accused to answer to a loose story or accusa- 
tion of several crimes in one count. If the crime 
charged be treason, which this paper approaches more 
nearly than anything else, the accused shall have a 
copy of the indictment, and a list of the jury, and of 
all the witnesses to be produced on the trial for prov- 
ing the said indictment (mentioning the names and 
places of abode of such witnesses and jurors), deliv- 
ered unto him at least three entire days before he shall 
be tried for the same; and in other capital offenses 
shall have such copy of indictment and list of the jury 
two entire days at least before the trial. (Act of April 
30, 1790, Sec. 24, p. 221.) 

Against this array of constitutional and legal pro- 
hibition and regulation, I know of nothing that can be 


adduced, except, perhaps, an Executive order author- 
izing, by direct mandate or by implication, the thing 
to be done which the Constitution forbids you to do. 
If you be proceeding in obedience to such Executive 
mandate, and if that give jurisdiction, still you pro- 
ceed in a form and manner which the Constitution and 
law expressly forbid. If my clients be charged with 
treason or murder (and I conjecture they are charged 
with murder at least), they must be proved to have 
been present, aiding in, or actually committing the 
overt act, or the alleged murder. For either of these 
the punishment or conviction is death. The Judge- 
Advocate has been unable, in the cases of Arnold and 
Mudd, to present any evidence remotely approaching 
that prescribed by the Constitution and the laws as 
the condition of conviction ; and yet I am led to infer 
that he will claim a conviction of one or both of them 
on the proof presented. Wliat is the profession, on this 
and on the other side of the Atlantic, to think of such 
administration of criminal jurisprudence? — for this, 
the first of our State trials, will be read with avidity 
everywhere. I ask the officers of the Government to 
think of this carefully now, lest two or three years 
hence they may not like to hear it named. 

But we may mistake the whole case as it presents 
itself to the mind of the Judge-Advocate. We are 
here as counsel for the accused, but are not allowed to 
know explicitly with what crime, defined by law, any 
one of them is charged, or what we are here to defend. 
No crime known to the law is legally charged in the 
paper which is here substituted for an indictment. In 
this paper three distinct crimes are strongly hinted at 
in a single charge, to each of which different rules of 
law and evidence are applicable and different penalties 
are attached; and I had wished to know, so that I 
might shape the defense of my clients accordingly, for 


which alleged or intimated crime any one, or each or 
all of them, are to be tried. This information has been 
denied us. The Judge-Advocate puts these parties on 
trial, and refuses (in the most courteous terms) 
to advise their counsel on what law or authority he 
rests his claim to jurisdiction; of what crime he in- 
tends to convict each or any of the defendants; in 
what law the crimes are defined and their punishments 
prescribed; or on what proof, out of the wild jumble 
of testimony, he intends to rest his claim to convic- 

But it has been said, and will perhaps be said again, 
in support of this jurisdiction, that the necessities of 
war justify it — and silent leges inter arma. So said 
the Roman orator when Rome had become a military 
despotism, and ceased forever to have liberty, and 
when she retained law only as the gift or by the per- 
mission of the ruling despot. "The law is silent amid 
arms." Yes, it is so in a conquered country, when the 
victorious general chooses to put the law to silence; 
for he is an autocrat, and may, if he choose, be a des- 
pot. But how extravagant is the pretense that a bold, 
and spirited, and patriotic people, because they rise in 
their majesty and send forth conquering armies to 
rescue the Republic, thereby forfeit all constitutional 
and legal protection of life, liberty, and property! 

Cases have often arisen, in which robber bands, 
whose vocation is piracy on the high seas, or promiscu- 
ous robbery and murder on land — hostes humani gen- 
eris — may be lawfully put to the sword without quar- 
ter, in battle, or hung on the yard-arm, or otherwise 
put to death, when captured, according to the necessi- 
ties of the case, without trial or other conviction, ex- 
cept the knowledge of the commanding general that 
they were taken flagrante hello, and that they are 
pirates or land robbers. A military court may be 


called, but it is advisory merely ; the general acts, con- 
demns, and executes. But the Constitution of the 
United States has nothing to do with this. It does not 
protect pirates or marauders, who are enemies of the 
human race ; or spies, or even enemies taken in battle. 
It protects, not belligerent enemies, but only citizens 
and those persons not citizens who in civil life seek and 
claim its protection, or aliens who are engaged in its 
military or other service. The power of the command- 
ing general over these classes is restrained only by the 
usages of war among civilized nations. But these de- 
fendants are not charged as spies or pirates, or armed 
and organized marauders, or enemies captured in war, 
or persons in the land or naval service of the United 
States. They belong to none of these classes, over 
whom military discretion or martial law extends, un- 
less they extend over and embrace all the people of 
the United States. 

But if the jurisdiction in this case exists, whether by 
law or by the power of arms, I regret that a military 
commission should be charged with the trial of these 
causes. The crimes are, as far as hinted at and writ- 
ten about in the charge and specifications, all cogniza- 
ble in our civil courts. Those courts are open, unob- 
structed, without a single impediment to the full and 
perfect administration of justice — -ready and prompt, 
as they always are, to perform the high duties which 
the well-known principles of law under the Consti- 
tution devolve on them. What good reason can be 
given in a case like this, to a people jealous of their 
rights, for a resort here and now to military trials and 
military executions? We are at the advent of a new, 
and I trust a successful, Administration. A taint such 
as this — namely, the needless violation of the constitu- 
tional rights of the citizen — ought not to be permitted 
to attach to and infect it. The jurisdiction of this 


Commission has to be sought dehors the Constitution, 
and against its express prohibition. It is, therefore, 
at least of doubtful validity. If that jurisdiction does 
not exist; if the doubt be resolved against it by our 
judicial tribunals when the law shall again speak, the 
form of trial by this unauthorized Commission cannot 
be pleaded in justification of the seizure of property or 
the arrest of person, much less the infliction of the 
death penalty. In that event, however fully the recorded 
evidence may sustain your findings, however moderate 
may seem your sentences, however favorable to the 
accused your rulings on the evidence, your sentence 
will be held in law no better than the rulings of Judge 
Lynch's courts in the administration of lynch law. 
When the party now in power falls, — as in the vicissi- 
tudes of this it must one day fall, and all the sooner 
for a reckless use of its present power, — so it will be 
viewed by that party which succeeds it. This is to be 
expected, and, indeed, hoped; but if, unfortunately, 
this proceeding be then accepted and recorded as a 
precedent, we may have fastened on us a military 
despotism. If we concede that the exercise of juris- 
diction claimed is now necessary, and for the best pos- 
sible object, before we consent that it stand as a prece- 
dent in our jurisprudence, we should recall to mind the 
statesmanlike and almost prophetic remarks of Julius 
Caesar, in the Roman Senate, on the trial of Laitulus 
and his accomplices in Catiline's conspiracy: "Abuses 
often grow from precedents good in principle; hut 
when the power falls into the hands of men less en- 
lightened or less honest, a just and reasonable prece- 
dent receives an application contrary to justice and 
reason." It is to be remembered that criminal trials 
involving capital punishment were not then within the 
competency of the Roman Senate; and neither the 
Consul nor the Senate, nor both of them, had the right 


to condemn a Roman citizen without the concurrence 
of the people. 

If you believe you possess the power of life and 
death over the citizens of the United States in States 
where the regular tribunals can be safely appealed to, 
still, for the sake of our common country and its cher- 
ished institutions, do not press that power too far. 
Our judicial tribunals, at some future day, I have no 
doubt, will be again in the full exercise of their consti- 
tutional powers, and may think, as a large proportion 
of the legal profession now think, that your jurisdic- 
tion in these cases is an unwarranted assumption; 
and they may treat the judgment which you pronounce 
and the sentence you cause to be executed as your own 
unauthorized acts. 

This assumption of jurisdiction, or this use of a 
legitimate jurisdiction, not created by law and not 
known to law or to legal men, has not for its sanction 
even the plea of necessity. It may be convenient. Con- 
viction may be easier and more certain in this military 
commission than in our constitutional courts. 

Inexperienced as most of you are in judicial investi- 
gations, you can admit evidence which the courts 
would reject, and reject what they would admit, and 
you may convict and sentence on evidence which those 
courts would hold to be wholly insufficient. Means, 
too, may be resorted to by detectives, acting under 
promise or hope of reward, and operating on the fears 
or the cupidity of witnesses, to obtain and introduce 
evidence which cannot be detected and exposed in this 
military trial, but could be readily in the free, but 
guarded, course of investigation before our regular 
judicial tribunals. The Judge- Advocate, with whom 
chiefly rests the fate of these citizens, is learned in the 
law, but from his position he cannot be an impartial 
judge, unless he be more than man. He is the prose- 



May it please the Court: If it be determined to take 
jurisdiction here it then becomes a question vitally im- 
portant to some of these parties — a question of Hfe and 
deatli — whether you will punish only offenses created 
and declared by law, or whether you will make and 
declare the past acts of the accused to be crimes, which 
acts the law never heretofore declared criminal; at- 
tach to them the penalty of death, or such penalty as 
may seem meet to you ; adapt the eviderice to the crime 
and the crime to the evidence, and thus convict and 
punish. This, I greatly fear, may be the purpose, es- 
pecially since the Judge- Advocate said, in reply to my 
inquiries, that he would expect to convict "under the 
common law of war." This is a term unknown to our 
language — a quiddity — wholly undefined and incapa- 
ble of definition. It is, in short, just what the Judge- 
Advocate chooses to make of it. It may create a ficti- 
tious crime, and attach to it arbitrary and extreme pun- 
ishment, and who shall gainsay it ? The laws of war — ■ 
namely, our Articles of War — and the habitual prac- 
tice and mode of proceeding under them, are familiar 
to us all ; but I know nothing, and never heard or read 
of a common law of war, as a code or system under 
which military courts or commissions in this country 
can take and exercise jurisdiction not given them by 
express legal enactment or constitutional grant. But 
I still hope the law is to govern, and if it does, I feel 
that my clients are still safe. 

I will now proceed to show you, that on the part of 

Geineral Thomas Ewjisg 



one of my clients — ^Dr. Mudd — ^no crime known to the 
law, and for which it is pretended to prosecute, can 
possibly have been committed. Though not distinctly 
informed as to the ofifense for which the Judge-Advo- 
cate claims conviction, I am safe in saying, that the 
testimony does not point to treason, and if he is being 
tried for treason, the proceedings for that crime are 
widely departed from. The prosecution appears to 
have been instituted and conducted under the procla- 
mation of the Secretary of War, of April 20, 1865. 
This makes it a crime, punishable with death, to har- 
bor or screen Booth, Atzerodt, or Herold, or to aid or 
to assist them to escape. It makes it a crime to do a 
particular act, and punishes that crime with death. I 
suppose we must take this proclamation as law. Per- 
haps it is part of what the Judge-Advocate means 
when he speaks of the "common law of war." If this 
be so, my clients are still safe, if we be allowed to con- 
strue it as laws are construed by courts of justice. 
But I will show, first, that Dr. Mudd is not, and can- 
not possibly be, guilty of any offense known to the law. 

I. Not of treason. — The overt act attempted to be 
alleged is the murder of the President. The proof is 
conclusive, that at the time the tragedy was enacted 
Dr. Mudd was at his residence in the country, thirty 
miles from the place of the crime. Those who com- 
mitted it are shown to have acted for themselves, not 
as the instruments of Dr. Mudd. He, therefore, can- 
not be charged, according to law and upon the evi- 
dence, with the commission of this overt act. There 
are not two witnesses to prove that he did commit it, 
but abundant evidence to show negatively that he did 

Chief Justice Marshall, in delivering an opinion of 
the Court in Burr's case, says : "Those only who per- 
form a part, and who are leagued in the conspiracy, 


are declared to be traitors. To complete the definition 
both circumstances must concur. They must "perform 
a part" which will furnish the overt act, and they must 
be leagued with the conspiracy." (4 Cr., 474.) 

Now, as to Dr. Mudd, there is no particle of evi- 
dence tending to show that he was ever leagued with 
traitors in their treason ; that he had ever, by himself, 
or by adhering to, and in connection with others, levied 
war against the United States. It is contended that 
he joined in compassing the death of the President 
("the King's death"). Foster, p. 149, speaking of the 
treason of compassing the king's death, says : "From 
what has been said it followeth, that in every indict- 
ment for this species of treason, and indeed for levying 
war and adhering to the king's enemies, an overt act 
must be alleged and proved." 

The only overt act laid in these charges against 
Mudd is the act of assassination, at which it is claimed 
he was constructively present and participating. His 
presence, and participation, or procurement, must be 
proved by two witnesses, if the charge be treason ; and 
such presence, participation, or procurement, be the 
overt act. 

Chief Justice Marshall, in Burr's case (Dall., 500), 
says : "Collateral points, say the books, may be 
proved according to the course of the common law; 
but is this a collateral point? Is the fact, without 
which the accused does not participate in the guilt of 
the assemblage, if they were guilty (or in any way in 
the guilty act of others), a collateral point? This can- 
not be. The presence of the party, when presence is 
necessary, being part of the overt act, must be posi- 
tively proved by two witnesses. No presumptive evi- 
dence, no facts from which presence may be conjec- 
tured or inferred, will satisfy the Constitution and the 
law. If procurement take the place of presence, and 


become part of the overt act, then no presumptive evi- 
dence, no facts from which the procurement may be 
conjectured or inferred, can satisfy the Constitution 
and the law. The mind is not to be led to the conclu- 
sion that the individual was present by a train of con- 
jectures or inferences, or of reasoning. The fact itself 
must be proved by two witnesses, and must have been 
committed within the district." 

2. Not of murder. — For the law is clear, that, in 
cases of treason, presence at the commission of the 
overt act is governed by the same principle as construc- 
tive presence in ordinary felonies, and has no other 
latitude, greater or less, except that in proof of treason 
two witnesses are necessary to the overt act, and one 
only in murder and other felonies. "A person is not 
constructively present at an overt act of treason, un- 
less he be aiding and abetting at the fact, or ready to 
do so, if necessary." (4 Cr., 492.) Persons not suf- 
ficiently near to give assistance are not principals. And 
although an act be committed in pursuance of a pre- 
vious concerted plan^ those who are not present, or so 
near as to be able to afford aid and assistance, at the 
time when the offense is committed, are not principals, 
but accessories before the fact. (Wharton, Am. Crim. 
Law, 112 to 127.) 

It is, therefore, perfectly clear, upon the law as en- 
acted by the Legislature and expounded by jurists, 
that Dr. Mudd is not guilty of participating in the 
murder of the President ; that he was not actually or 
constructively present when the horrid deed was done, 
either as a traitor, chargeable with it as an overt act, 
or a conspirator, connected as a principal felon there- 

3. The only other crimes defined by law for the al- 
leged commission, of which the Judge-Advocate may, 
by possibility, claim the conviction of the accused, are : 


1st. The crime of treasonable conspiracy, which is de- 
fined by the law of 21st July, 1861, and made punish- 
able by fine not exceeding $6,000, and imprisonment 
not exceeding six years. 2nd. The crime of being an 
accessory before, or after, the fact to the crimes of 
murder, and of assault with intent to kill. That the 
accused is not guilty of either of these crimes, will be 
clearly shown in the discussion of the evidence which 

4. Admitting the Secretary's proclamation to the 
law, it, of course, either supersedes or defines the un- 
known something or nothing which the Judge-Advo- 
cate calls "the common law of war." If so, it is a defi- 
nite, existing thing, and I can defend my clients 
against it ; and it is easy to show that Dr. Mudd is not 
guilty of violating that proclamation. He did not, 
after the date of the proclamation, see either of the 
parties named therein — dress the wound of Booth, or 
point out the way to Herold — and the proclamation 
relates to future acts, not to past. 

5. But of the common law of war, as distinct from 
the usages of military courts, in carrying out and exe- 
cuting, the Articles of War, I know nothing, and, on 
examining the books, I find nothing. All that is writ- 
ten down in books of law or authority I am, or ought 
to be, prepared to meet; but it were idle and vain to 
search for and combat a mere phantom of the imagina- 
tion, without form and void. 

I now pass to the consideration of the evidence, 
which I think will fully satisfy the Court that Dr. 
Mudd is not guilty of treasonable conspiracy, or of be- 
ing an accomplice, before or after the fact in the felo- 
nies committed. 

The accused has been a practicing physician, resid- 
ing five miles north of Bryantown, in Charles County, 
Maryland, on a farm of about five hundred acres, 


given him by his father. His house is between twenty- 
seven and thirty miles from Washington, and four or 
five miles east of the road from Washington to Bryan- 
town. It is shown by Dr. George Mudd, John L. Tur- 
ner, John Waters, Joseph Waters, Thomas Davis, 
John McPherson, Lewellyn Gardiner, and other gen- 
tlemen of unimpeached and unquestionable loyalty, 
who are in full sympathy with the Government, that 
he is a man of most exemplary character — ^peaceable, 
kind, upright, and obedient to the laws. His family 
being slaveholders, he did not like the anti-slavery 
measures of the Government, but was always respectful 
and temperate in discussing them, freely took the oath 
of allegiance prescribed for voters (Dr. George 
Mudd), supported a Union candidate against Harris, 
the secession candidate, for Congress (T. L,. Gardi- 
ner), and for more than a year past regarded the re- 
bellion a failure. (Dr. George Mudd.) He was never 
known or reported to have done an act or said a word 
in aid of the rebellion, or in countenance or support of 
the enemies of the Government. 

An effort was made, over all objections and in viola- 
tion, I respectfully submit, of the plainest rules of evi- 
dence, to blacken his character as a citizen, by showing 
that he was wont, after the war broke out, to threaten 
his slaves to send them to Richmond "to build batter- 
ies." But it will be seen hereafter, that all that part of 
the testimony of the same witnesses, which related to 
the presence of Surratt and of rebel officers at the 
house of the accused, was utterly false. And Dyer, in 
presence of whom Eglen says the threat was made to 
him, swears he was not in the country then, and no 
such threat was ever made in his presence. The other 
colored servants of the accused, Charles and Julia 
Bloyce, and Betty and Frank Washington, say they 


never heard of such threats having been made; and J. 
T. Mudd and Dr. George Mudd, and his colored ser- 
vants,. Charles and Julia Bloyce, and Betty and Frank 
Washington, describe him as being remarkably easy, 
unexacting, and kind to all about him — slaves and 

From this brief reference to the evidence of the char- 
acter of the accused, I pass to a consideration of the 
testimony adduced to prove his connection with the 

And, first, as to his acquaintance with Booth. J. C. 
Thompson says, that early in November last Booth 
went to the house of witness's father-in-law, Dr. Wil- 
liam Queen, four or five miles south of Bryantown, 
and eight or ten from Dr. Mudd's, and presented a 
letter of introduction from a Mr. Martin, of Montreal, 
who said he wanted to see the country. It does not 
appear who Martin was. Booth said his business was 
to invest in land and to buy horses. He went with Dr. 
Queen's family to a church next day, in the neighbor- 
hood of Bryantown, and was there casually introduced, 
before service, by Thompson, to the accused. After 
service Booth returned to Queen's house, and stayed 
until next morning, when he left. While at Queen's 
he made inquiries of Thompson as to horses for sale, 
the price of lands, their qualities, the roads to Wash- 
ington, and to the landings on the Potomac; and 
Thompson told him that the father of Dr. Samuel 
Mudd was a large landholder, and might sell part of 
his land. On Monday morning, after leaving Dr. 
Queen's, Booth came by the house of the accused, who 
went with him to the house of George Gardiner, to 
look at some horses for sale. The accused lives about 
one quarter of a mile from Gardiner's (Mary Mudd, 
Thomas L,. Gardiner), and on the most direct road to 
that place from Dr. Queen's, through Bryantown. 


(Mary Mudd, Hardy.) There Booth bought the one- 
eyed saddle-horse which he kept here, and which Payne 
rode after the attempted assassination of Mr. Seward. 
Mudd manifested no interest in the purchase, but after 
it was made Booth directed the horse to be sent to 
Montgomery's Hotel, in Bryantown, and Booth and 
the accused rode off together in the direction of the 
house of the accused, which was also the direction of 
Bryantown. Witness took the horse to Bryantown 
next morning, and delivered him in person to Booth 
there. Witness says the horse was bought on Mon- 
day ^ but he thinks the latter part of November ; though 
he says he is " one of the worst hands in the world to 
keep dates." 

Thompson further says, that after Booth's first in- 
troduction and visit to Dr. Queen's, " he came there 
again, and stayed all night, and left very early next 
morning. I think it was about the middle of Decem- 
ber following his first visit there." 

There is nothing whatever to show that Mudd saw 
Booth on this second visit, or at any other time, in the 
country, prior to the assassination ; but a great deal of 
evidence that he never was at Mudd's house, or in his 
immediate neighborhood, prior to the assassination, 
except once, and on his first visit. I will refer to the 
several items of testimony on this point. 

1st. Thomas L. Gardiner says he was back and forth 
at Mudd's house, sometimes every day, and always two 
or three times a week, and never heard of Booth being 
there, or in the neighborhood, after the purchase of 
the horse and before the assassination. 

2d. Mary Mudd says she saw Booth one Sunday in 
November at church, in Dr. Queen's pew, and with 
his family, and that she heard of his being at the house 
of her brother, the accused, on that visit, but did not 
hear that he stayed all night; and that on the 


same visit he bought the horse of Gardiner. She lives 
at her father's, on the farm adjoining that of accused, 
and was at his house two or three times a week, and 
saw him nearly every day on his visits to his mother, 
who was an invalid, and whose attending physician he 
was ; and never saw or heard of Booth, except on that 
one occasion, before the assassination. 

3d. Fanny Mudd, sister of the accused, living with 
her father, testifies to the same effect. 

4th. Charles Bloyce was at the house of the accused 
Saturday and Sunday of each week of last year until 
Christmas Eve (except six weeks in April and May), 
and never saw or heard of Booth's being there. 

5th. Betty Washington (colored) lived there from 
Monday after Christmas until now, and never saw or 
heard of Booth there before the assassination. 

6th. Thomas Davis lived there from 9th January 
last. Same as above. Nor is there any evidence what- 
ever of Booth's having stayed all night with the ac- 
cused on the visit when the horse was bought of Gar- 
diner, or at any other time, except that of Colonel 
Wells, who says that, after Mudd's arrest, "he said, in 
answer to another question, that he met Booth some 
time in November. I think he said he was introduced 
by Mr. Thompson, a son-in-law of Dr. Queen, to 
Booth. I think he said the introduction took place at 
the chapel or church on Sunday morning; that, after 
the introduction had passed between them, Thompson 
said. Booth wants to buy farming lands ; and they had 
some little conversation on the subject of lands ; and 
then Booth asked the question, whether there were 
any desirable horses that could be bought in that neigh- 
borhood cheaply; that he mentioned the name of a 
neighbor of his who had some horses that were good 
travelers ; and that he remained zvith him that night, 
I think, and next morning purchased one of those 


horses." Now, it will be recollected that Thompson 
says Booth stayed at Dr. Queen's on that visit Satur- 
day night and Sunday night, and Thomas Iv. Gardiner 
says the horse was bought Monday morning. So that, 
if Colonel Wells is correct in recollecting what Mudd 
said, then Thompson must be wrong. It is more prob- 
able that Thompson is right, as to Booth's having 
spent Sunday night at Queen's. Thompson's testi- 
mony is strengthened, too, by that of Mary Mudd, 
Fanny Mudd, and Charles Bloyce, who would in all 
probability, have heard the fact of Booth spending 
Sunday night at the house of the accused, had he done 
so ; but they did not hear it.* 

It is here to be observed, that though the accused 
was not permitted to show, by Booth's declarations 
here, that he was contemplating and negotiating pur- 
chases of land in Charles County, yet evidence was ad- 
mitted as to his declarations made there to that effect. 
Dr. Bowman, of Bryantown, says that Booth nego- 
tiated with him, on one of these visits, for the purchase 
of his farm, and also talked of buying horses. And a 
few days after witness had negotiated with Booth for 
the sale of his farm, he met Dr. Mudd, and spoke of 
the negotiation with Booth, and Mudd said, "Why, 
that fellow promised to buy my land." It is also shown 
by Dr. Blandford, Dr. Bowman, M. P. Gardiner, and 
Dyer, that Mudd for a year past wanted to sell his 
land, and quit farming. 

This, then, is all that is shown of any meeting be- 
tween Mudd and Booth in that country before the as- 
sassination — a casual introduction at church on Sun- 
day in November — Booth going next morning to 
Mudd's, talking of buying his farm, and riding with 
him a quarter of a mile to a neighbor's to buy a horse, 

*As shown by the statement of my mother, Booth did stay one 
night at my father's home in November, 1864. — Eo. 


and their going off together toward Mudd's and Bry- 
antown, where the horse was delivered to Booth next 

We will now turn to consider the evidence as to the 
accused's acquaintance with John H. Snrratt. If he 
knew Surratt at all^ the fact is not shown by, nor in- 
ferable from, the evidence. Miss Surratt was edu- 
cated at Bryantown, before the war, and her family 
lived at Surrattsville, and kept the hotel there (which 
is on the road from Dr. Mudd's house to Washing- 
ton) until they removed, in October last, to a house 
on H street, in this city, where they have since resided. 
(Miss Surratt, Holahan, Weichmann.) Dr. Mudd 
probably had met Surratt at the hotel at Surrattsville, 
or, before the war, at Bryantown, while his sister was 
at school; but it is not shown by credible testimony 
that he knew him at all. Let us examine the evidence 
on this point. 

1st. Mary Sims, formerly Dr. Mudd's slave, says 
that a man whom Dr. and Mrs. Mudd called Surratt 
was at Mudd's house from almost every Saturday 
night until Monday night through the latter part of 
the zvinter, and through the spring and summer of last 
year until apples and peaches were ripe, when she saw 
him no more; and that on the last of November she 
left Dr. Mudd's house. That he never slept in the 
house, but took dinner there six or seven times. That 
Andrew Gwynn, Bennett Gzvynn, Captain Perry, 
Lieutenant Perry and Captain White, of Tennessee, 
slept with Surratt in the pines near the spring, on bed- 
clothes furnished from Dr. Mudd's house, and that 
they were supplied by witness and by Dr. Mudd with 
victuals from the house. That William Mudd, a 
neighbor, and Rachel Spencer,' and Albin Brooke, 
members of Mudd's household, used to see Surratt 
there then. She says that the lieutenants and officers 


had epaulettes on their shoulders, gray breeches with 
yellow stripes, coat of same color and trimming. 
Their horses were kept in Dr. Mudd's stable by Milo 

2d. Milo Sims, brother of Mary, fourteen years old, 
formerly slave of Dr. Mudd, left there Friday before 
last Christmas. Saw two or three men there last sum- 
mer, who slept at the spring near Dr. Mudd's house. 
Bedding taken from the house; meals carried by 
Mary Sims, generally, though they sometimes ate in 
the house, and they all slept at the spring, except one 
called John Surratt, who slept once in the house. 
Don't say how long they stayed. It was in "planting 
tobacco time." He attended their horses in Dr. 
Mudd's stable. 

3d. Rachel Spencer, slave of Dr. Mudd and cook at 
his house, left him early in January, 1865 ; saw five 
or six men around Dr. Mudd's house last summer; 
slept in the pines near the house, and were furnished 
with meals from it. Were dressed in black and blue. 
Were there only a week, and never saw them there 
before or since. She heard no names of the men ex- 
cept Andrew Gwynn and Watt Bowie. That Albin 
Brooke lived at Dr. Mudd's then, and was with these 
men occasionally. 

4th. Elzee Eglen, formerly Dr. Mudd's slave, left 
him 20th August, 1863 ; saw a party sleeping in the 
pines, by the spring, near the house, summer before 
last. Knew Andrew Gwynn, and he was one of them ; 
did not recollect any other names. Mary Sims car- 
ried them meals, and Milo Sims attended the horses in 
Dr. Mudd's stable. Some wore gray clothes with 
brass buttons, but without other marks — some black 
clothes. Did not say how many there were, nor how 
long they stayed. 

5th. Melvina Washington, formerly Dr. Mudd's 


slave, left him October, 1863, saw party sleeping in 
the pines near the house summer before last; victuals 
furnished from the house. Party stayed there about 
a week, and then left. Some were dressed in gray, 
and some in short jackets with little peaks behind, with 
black buttons. She saw them seven or eight times 
during one week, and then they all left, and she never 
saw any of thein at any other time except during that 
week. That Andrew Gwynn's name was the only one 
she heard ; that Mary Sims used to tell her, when the 
men were there, the names of others, but she had for- 
gotten them. 

That these five witnesses all refer to the same party 
of men and the same year is certain, from the fact 
that Elzee Eglen says that Mary Sims carried the 
party he describes as being there in the summer of 
1863 their victuals, and that Milo Sims kept their 
horses in the stable, and Melvina Washington says 
Mary Sims used to tell her the names of the party 
which she described as being there in 1863; and also 
from the fact that all of them, except Milo Sims, 
named Andrew Gwynn as being one of the party. I 
will not waste the time of the Court in pointing out to 
it in detail the discrepancies in their evidence apparent 
from the foregoing synopsis of their testimony; and 
therefore, only calling its attention to the fact that all 
of these witnesses were living with Dr. Mudd during 
and after the year 1861 (Dyer), down to the several 
dates given above, when they respectively left, I will 
proceed to show from the evidence what and when 
the occurrences really were about which they have 

1st. Ben Gwynn (named by Mary Sims as one of 
the party) says : 

"Q. Will you state whether during last summer, in 


company with Captain White, from Tennessee, Cap- 
tain Perry, Lieutenant Perry, Andrew Gywnn, and 
George Gwynn, or either of them, you were about Dr. 
Samuel A. Mudd's house for several days ? — A. I was 
not. I do not know any of the parties named, and I 
never heard of them, except Andrew Gwynn and 
George Gwynn. 

"Q. Were you with your brothers, Andrew Gwynn 
and George Gwynn, about Dr. Mudd's house last 
year? — A. No, sir; I have not been in Dr. Mudd's 
house since about the first of November, 1861. I have 
not been on his place, or nearer his place than church, 
since about the 6th of November, 1861. 

"Q. Where did you and the party who were with 
you near Dr. Mudd's sleep ? — A. We slept in the pines 
near the spring. 

"Q. How long were you there? — A. Four or five 
days. I left my neighborhood, and went down there 
and stayed around in the neighborhood — ^part of the 
time at his place, and part of the time elsewhere. He 
fed us there — ^gave us something to eat, and had some 
bed-clothing brought out of the house. That was all." 

He further said, that the party was composed of his 
brother, Andrew Gwynn, and Jere Dyer, who, on the 
breaking out of the war, were, like all the people of 
that section, panic-stricken, and apprehending arrest; 
that he came up to Washington on the loth of Novem- 
ber, gave himself up, and found there were no charges 
against him, took the oath, and went back home. That 
John H. Surratt, when this party were there, was at 
college, and witness never saw him in Charles County 
then or since. That his brother, Andrew Gwynn, went 
South in the fall of 1861, and was never, to his knowl- 
edge, back in that county but once since, and that was 
last winter some time. He corrected his statement as 


to when the party was there, and fixed it in August, 

2d. Jere Dyer, brother-in-law of the accused, testi- 
fies to the same as Ben. Gwynn. Says he and the two 
Gwynns were members of companies, organized by 
authority of Governor Hicks for home protection in 
i860; were present on parade in Washington at the in- 
auguration of a statue, on the 22d of February, i860. 
When the war broke out the companies were disbanded, 
many of the members going South, and many of those 
who remained in Charles County scattering about 
from rumors of arrests; that there was a general 
panic in the county then, and almost everybody was 
leaving home and "dodging about" ; that while he 
and the two Gwynns slept in the pines these three or 
four days, Mary Sims carried them victuals from the 
house, and Milo Sims attended to the horses in 
Mudd's stables; that they were dressed in citizens' 
clothing; that Andrew Gwynn went South in the fall 
of 1861 ; witness never heard of his being back since; 
that Surratt was not there then, nor, so far as he 
knows, since. 

3d. William Mudd, a near neighbor of the accused, 
named by Mary Sims as having seen the party she 
described, says he saw Benjamin Gwynn there in 1861, 
but saw none of the others, then or since. 

4th. Albin Brooke, referred to by Mary Sims and 
Rachel Spencer as having seen the party they describe 
(and by Mary Sims as having seen Surratt especially), 
says he knows Surratt, having met him in another 
county once, and knew Benjamin Gwynn and Andrew 
Gwynn, but that he never saw Surratt with any of the 
men named by Mary Sims at Dr. Mudd's, nor heard 
of his having ever been there ; never heard of Andrev/ 
Gwynn being back from Virginia since 1861. That 
he lived at Dr. Mudd's from the ist of January to be- 


tween the ist and 15th of September of last year, and 
was at the stable morning, noon, and night, each day, 
and was about the spring daily ; 'while there never saw 
any strangers' horses in the stable, nor any signs 
about the spring of persons sleeping there; but that, 
while living near Dr. Mudd's, in the sumn:ier of 1861, 
he knew of Ben, and Andrew Gwynn and Dyer sleep- 
ing in the pines there. 

Sth. Mrs. Mary Jane Sims boarded, or was a guest, 
at Dr. Mudd's all last year, except through March; 
knew Andrew, Ben, and George Gwynn, and John H. 
Surratt. Never saw or heard of any of them there, 
nor of any of them sleeping in the pines. 

6th. Frank Washington (colored) lived at Dr. 
Mudd's all last year; knew Andrew Gwynn by sighi; 
never saw or heard of him or Surratt (of whom a 
photograph was shown him), or of any of the men 
named by Mary Sims, being there, or of any men being 
there in uniform; at the stable three times daily, and 
often at the spring, and saw no strange horses in the 
stable ; saw no signs of men sleeping about the spring. 

7th. Baptist Washington, carpenter, at work there 
putting up kitchen, etc., from February till Christmas 
last year, except the month of August ; same as above, 
except as to knowledge of Andrew Gwynn. (Photo- 
graph of Sun-att shown him.) 

Sth. Charles Bloyce (colored), at Dr. Mudd's 
through every Saturday and Sunday all last year, ex- 
cept from loth April to 20th May, same as Frank 
Washington, except as to knowing Andrew Gwynn. 

9th. Julia Ann Bloyce (colored cook), there from 
early in July to 23d December, 1864; same, substan- 
tially, as Frank Washington; knew Ben and Andrew 
Gwynn. (Photograph of Surratt shown witness.) 

loth. Emily Mudd and Fannie Mudd live on ad- 
joining farm to Dr. Mudd, and his father's; at his 


house almost daily for years ; knew of the party in the 
pines in 1861, composed of Dyer and the two Gwynns ; 
knew Andrew Gwynn well; never heard of his being 
back from Virginia since 1861, nor of Surratt ever 
being at Dr. Mudd's, nor of any of the others named 
by Mary Sims, except the Gwynns, in 1861. 

nth. Henry L. Mudd, Jr., brother of the accused, 
living at his father's ; same as above as to Surratt. 

None of the five witnesses, whose testimony has 
been shown false in all essential parts by the evidence 
of the twelve witnesses for defense, referred to above, 
said that Surratt was one of the party sleeping in the 
pines, except Mary and Milo Sims. These two wit- 
nesses are shown to have established reputations as 
liars, by the evidence of Charles Bloyce, Julia Ann 
Bloyce, and Frank, Baptist, and Betty Washington. 
So all that testimony for the prosecution, of the "in- 
telligent contrabands," who darkened the counsels of 
the Court in this case, is cleared away. The only 
part of it at all admissible under the rules of evidence, 
or entitled to the consideration of the Court, was that 
showing Surratt was intimate with Mudd, and often 
at his house last year and year before ; and that, like 
nearly all the rest of their testimony, has been con- 
clusively shown to be false. 

Another witness, who testifies to implicate Mudd as 
an associate of Surratt, is William A. Evans, who said 
he saw Mudd some time last winter enter a house on H 
street, just as Judson Jarboe, of Prince George's 
County, was going out of it; and that Jarboe was 
then shaking hands with a young lady, whom witness 
took to be a daughter of Mrs. Surratt, from her strik- 
ing likeness to her mother, he having known or seen 
all the family ; and that he stopped a policeman on the 
street, and asked whose house it was, and he said, 
"Mrs. Surratt's"; and that he drove up to the pave- 


ment, and asked also a lady who lived near by, and she 
said the same. He said this house was between 
Eighth and Ninth, or Ninth and Tenth — he was not 
perfectly certain as to the streets, but was certain it 
was between the Patent Office and the President's. 
Through an hour's cross-examination, he fought by 
equivocation, or pleading defect of memory, against 
fixing any circumstance by which I could learn directly 
or indirectly the day or the month when it occurred, 
and, finally, he could only say it was "some time last 
winter." Although his attention had been so strongly 
attracted to the house, he first said it was on one side 
of the street and then on the other ; and could not tell 
whether it had any porch or any portico, nor describe 
its color, nor whether it had a yard- in front, nor 
whether it was near the center of the square, nor 
describe a single house on either side of the same 
square. He said he knew Dr. Samuel Mudd, having 
met him first at Bryantown Church, in December, 

Every material thing he did say, which was sus- 
ceptible of being shown false, has been so shown. 

1st. Mrs. Surratt's house is not between the Patent 
Office and the President's, but next the corner of 
Sixth. (Weichmann, Holahan, Miss Surratt.) 

2d. Miss Surratt, an only daughter, says she never 
saw or heard of Samuel Mudd being at her mother's 
house, nor heard his name mentioned in the family, 
and never met Judson Jarboe there or elsewhere before 
the assassination. 

3d. Miss Fitzpatrick, who boarded at Mrs. Surratt's 
from the 6th of October last to the assassination, and 
Holahan, who was there from the first week of Febru- 
ary last, never saw either Mudd or Jarboe there, or 
heard of either being there, or the name of either 
mentioned in the family. 


4th. Weichmann, who boarded there through last 
winter, never heard of Mudd being at the house. 

5th. Judson Jarboe says he never was at Mrs. Sur- 
ratt's house, or met Dr. Mudd or Miss Surratt in 
Washington before the assassination. 

6th. Mary Mudd says Samuel Mudd was at Fred- 
erick College, at Fredericktown, Maryland, in Decem- 
ber, 1850, and was not at home during the collegiate 
year, beginning in September of that year ; and Rev. 
Dr. Stonestreet, who was president of that college 
until December of that year, testifies the accused was 
then entered as a student there, and could not by the 
rules of the college have gone home. 

This witness, Evans, boasted often to the Court 
that he was a minister of the Gospel, and reluctantly 
admitted on cross-examination that he was also One 
of the secret police. In his reckless zeal as a detective, 
he forgot the ninth commandment, and bore false wit- 
ness against his neighbor. It is to be hoped his testi- 
mony that he is a minister of the Gospel is as false as 
his material evidence. I feel bound in candor to admit, 
however, that his conduct on the stand gave an air of 
plausibility to one of his material statements — that for 
a month past he has "been on the verge of insanity." 

I have now presented and considered all the testi- 
mony going to show that Mudd ever met Surratt at 
all, and all that he ever met Booth before the assas- 
sination and after the first visit Booth made to Charles 
County — except the testimony of Weichmann, which 
I will now consider. 

That witness says that about the middle of January 
last he and Surratt were walking down Seventh street 
one night, and passed Booth and Mudd walking up the 
street, and just after they had passed, Mudd called, 
"Surratt, Surratt." Surratt turned and recognized 
Mudd as an old acquaintance, and introduced Mudd 


to witness, and then Mudd introduced Booth to wit- 
ness and Surratt. That soon after the introduction 
Booth invited them all to his room at the National Ho- 
tel, where wine and cigars were ordered. That Dr. 
Mudd, after the wine and cigars came, called Booth 
into the passage, and they stayed there five to eight 
minutes, and then both came and called Surratt out, 
and all three stayed there about as long as Mudd 
and Surratt had stayed, both interviews together 
making about ten to twenty minutes. On returning 
to the room, Di-. Mudd seated himself by witness, and 
apologized for their private conversation, saying, "that 
Booth and he had some private business — that Booth 
wished to purchase his farm." And that, subse- 
quently, Booth also apologized to him, giving the same 
reason for the private conversation. Booth at one 
time took the back of an envelope, and made marks on 
it with a pencil. "I should not consider it writing, but 
more in the direction of roads or lines." The three 
were at that time seated round a center-table in the 
middle of the room. "The room was very large — 
half the size of this court-room." He was standing 
when this was done within eight feet of them, and 
Booth was talking in a low tone, and Surratt and 
Mudd looking on the paper, but witness heard no word 
of the conversation. About twenty minutes after the 
second return from the passage, and after a good deal 
of general conversation, they all walked round to the 
Pennsylvania House, where the accused sat with wit- 
ness on a lounge, and talked about the war, "expressed 
the opinion that the war would soon be over, and 
talked like a Union man." Soon after getting there. 
Booth bid the accused good night, and after Booth left, 
witness and Surratt followed, at about half-past ten 

It will be observed th^t the only men spoken of by 


this witness as having seen the accused on this occa- 
sion are Booth who is dead, and Surratt, who is a 
fugitive from the country. So there is no one who can 
be called to confirm or confute his statements, as to 
the facts of these men being together, or as to the 
character of the interview. But there was one fact 
about which he said he could not be mistaken, and by 
means of which his evidence against Mudd is utterly 
overthrown. That is, he alleges the meeting was about 
the middle of January, and fixes the time with cer- 
tainty by three distinct circumstances : 

1st. He made a visit to Baltimore about the middle 
of January, and near the date of this meeting. 

2d. He had, before the meeting, got a letter, which 
he received on the i6th of January. 

3d. It was after the Congressional holidays, and 
Congress had resumed its session. He recollects this 
fact of itself, and is confirmed in his recollection by the 
fact that Booth's room was one a member of Cdngress 
had occupied before the holidays, and which was given 
Booth, as he learned, until the member, who had been 
delayed beyond the time of the reassembling of Con- 
gress, should return. Booth told him this. 

In refutation of this evidence, we have proved, be- 
yond all controversy, that Dr. Mudd was not in Wash- 
ington from the 23d of December to the 23d of March. 

On the 23d of December he came to Washington 
with J. T. Mudd, who says they left their horses at 
the Navy Yard, and went into the city at dark, on the 
street cars, and registered at the Pennsylvania House. 
They then went out and got supper at a restaurant, 
and then went to the Metropolitan Hotel and stayed 
there together a quarter of an hour, and then to the 
National, where witness met a friend, and became 
separated in the crowd from accused. Witness strolled 
out and went baok to the Pennsylvania House, to 


which accused returned in a few minutes after he got 
there. He saw and heard no one with the accused, 
though there might have been persons with him in the 
front part of the room (which was separated from 
where witness sat by open folding doors) without wit- 
ness seeing them. Witness and accused then went to 
bed; were together all next day; were about the 
market together, and at the store making purchases; 
were not at the National Hotel, and left the city about 
one o'clock in the afternoon of the 24th, and returned 
home together. Witness never saw Booth, except on 
his visit to Bryantown in November. We have shown 
by the evidence of Lucas, Montgomery, Julia Bloyce, 
and Jerry Mudd that accused came here on that visit 
on a sufficient and legitimate business errand — to pur- 
chase a cooking-stove and other articles, which he 
bought here then. 

On the 23d of March, Lewellyn Gardiner said ac- 
cused again came to Washington with him to attend a 
sale of condemned horses, but that the sale did not 
occur at that time. They got to Washington at 4 or 
5 p. M., left their horses at Martin's, beyond the Navy 
Yard, and went about looking at some wagons for 
sale, and went then to the Island to the house of Henry 
Clark, where they took tea. They spent the evening 
at Dr. Allen's playing whist, slept together that night 
at Clark's, and after breakfast next morning went 
through the Capitol looking at the paintings in the 
Rotunda, and returned to Martin's at dinner, and after 
dinner left and returned home. Accused was not 
separated from or out of sight of witness five minutes 
during the whole visit, and did not go to any of the 
hotels or to the post-office, or see or inquire for Booth. 
Dr. Allen, Clark, Martin, Thomas Davis, Mary Mudd, 



Henry Mudd, and Betty Washington confirm witness 
as to the objects or incidents of the visit. 

On the nth of April, three days before the assas- 
sination, while Booth, as appears by the hotel register, 
was at the National in this city, accused came to Gies- 
boro to attend the sale of Government horses, which 
he and L,ewellyn Gardiner had come on the 23d 
of March to attend. Though in sight of Washington, 
he did not come into the city, but took dinner at Mar- 
tin's, and after dinner left and returned home. On 
this visit he stayed all night at Blandford's, twelve 
miles from the city, coming up, but not returning. 
(Lewellyn Gardiner, Henry L. Mudd, Dr. Blandford, 
Martin, Davis, Betty Washington, Mary Mudd.) 

On the 26th of January he went with his wife to the 
house of his neighbor, George H. Gardiner, to a party, 
and stayed till daylight. (Betty Washington, Thomas 
Davis, Mary Mudd.) Except for one night on the 
occasion of each of those four visits — two to Wash- 
ington, one to Giesboro, and one to Gardiner's — ac- 
cused was not absent from home a night from 23d 
December until his arrest. (Betty Washington, 
Thomas Davis, Henry L. Mudd, Mary Mudd, Frank 

After the evidence for the defense above referred to 
had been introduced, refuting and completely over- 
whelming Weichmann's testimony and all inferences 
as to Dr. Mudd's complicity with Booth which might 
be drawn from it, a new accuser was introduced 
against him on the same point in the person of Marcus 
p. Norton, who said that at half-past 10 o'clock, on 
the morning of the 3d of March, as he was preparing 
his papers to go to the Supreme Court to argue a 
motion in a patent case there pending (which motion 
the record of the Court shows he did argue on that 
day), a stranger abruptly entered his room and as 


abruptly retired, saying he was looking for Mr. 
Booth's room; and though witness never saw Dr. 
Mudd before or since, until the day of his testifying, 
he says that stranger is the prisoner at the bar. He 
could not tell any article of the stranger's clothing 
except a black hat. Wnt. A. Evans, a part of whose 
evidence we have hereinbefore considered, comes to 
the support of Norton, by saying that early on the 
morning of either the ist, or 2d, or 3d of March (wit- 
ness is certain it was one of those three days) Dr. 
Mudd passed witness on the road from Bryantown to 
Washington, a few miles from the city, driving a two- 
horse rockaway, and there was a man in with him, but 
whether a black or a white man witness could not 
recollect. Fortunately for the accused, the ist day of 
March was Ash Wednesday — the first day of Lent, — a 
religious holiday of note and observance in the com- 
munity of Catholics among whom he lived. Fortu- 
nately for him, too, his sister Mary was taken ill on 
that day, and required his medical attendance (at her 
father's house, on the farm adjoining his own, thirty 
miles from Washington) each day from the 2d to the 
7th of March, inclusive. By the aid of these two cir- 
cumstances we have been able to show by Thomas 
Davis that accused was at work at home on the 28th of 
February (the day before Ash Wednesday) ; by Dr. 
Blandford, Frank Washington, and Betty Washington, 
that he was there at work at home on the ist of 
March ; by Mary, Fanny, Emily and Henry D. Mudd, 
Betty and Frank Washington, and Thomas Davis, 
that he was there on the 2d, 3d, 4th, and 5th of March, 
at various hours of each day. At or within two hours 
of the time when Norton says he saw the accused enter 
the room at the National (10.30 a. m., 3d of March), 
Mary, Emily, Fanny, and Henry L. Mudd, Frank and 
Betty Washington, Thomas and John Davis, all testify 


most emphatically to having seen him at his house, on 
his farm, or at his father's house adjacent to his 
own — six hours' ride from Washington! We have 
shovirn, too, by Mary Mudd, that the accused has 
always worn a lead-colored hat whenever she has seen 
him this year, and that she has seen him almost daily ; 
and by Henry Mudd, Dr. Blandford, and Mary Mudd 
that neither he nor his father owns a rockaway. Now, 
Norton either saw the accused enter his room on the 
morning of the 3d of March or not at all, for his evi- 
dence, clinched as to the date by the record of the 
Supreme Court, excludes the supposition that he could 
have been mistaken as to the day. Nor can these 
eight witnesses for the defense be mistaken as to the 
day, for the incidents by which they recollect Mudd's 
presence at home fix the time in their memories ex- 
actly. With all this evidence before the Court, it can- 
not hesitate to hold the alibi established beyond all 

The only other item of evidence as to anything done 
or said by Dr. Mudd, or by anybody, before the assas- 
sination, tending in the least to show him implicated 
in the conspiracy, is the evidence of Daniel I. Thomas, 
who says that several weeks before the assassination 
he met Mudd at the house of his neighbor, Downing, 
and there, in the course of conversation, Mudd said 
(laughingly) that "Lincoln and his whole Cabinet, 
and every Union man in the State of Maryland, would 
be killed within six weeks." Witness said he wrote to 
Colonel John C. Holland, provost marshal of that dis- 
trict, at Ellicott's Mills, before the assassination, ad- 
vising him of Mudd's statement. But Colonel Hol- 
land says he got a letter from witness about that time, 
and there was not a word of the statement in it, nor 
a reference to the accused, nor to any statement by 
anybody about killing anybody. Thomas says he told 


his brother, Dr. Thomas, of the declaration before the 
President was killed, but his brother says emphatically 
he did not tell him until after Mudd's arrest — the boot 
found at Mudd's house having been named in the same 
conversation. Thomas says he told Mr. Downing 
about it before the assassination, but Downing says 
emphatically he did not tell him a word about it at 
any time. Downing also says that he himself was 
present every moment of the time Mudd and Thomas 
were together at his house, and heard every word said 
by either of them, and Mudd did not make that state- 
ment, nor refer to the President, or the Cabinet, or the 
Union men of Maryland, at all, nor say a word about 
anybody being killed. He says, however, Mudd, when 
Thomas was bragging and lying about being a provost 
marshal, did tell him "he was a jack" — which insult 
was doubtless an incentive to the invention of the 
calumny. But it was not the only incentive. Thomas 
knew that if that lie could be palmed off on the Judge- 
Advocate and the Court for truth, it might lead to 
Mudd's arrest and conviction as one of the con- 
spirators. He had, on Tuesday, before Mudd's arrest, 
and before his lie was coined and circulated, been post- 
ing hand-bills, containing the order of the War De- 
partment offering liberal rewards for any information 
leading to the arrest of Booth's accomplices, and he 
then, doubtless, conceived the idea of at once getting 
reward in money from the Government for his infor- 
mation, and revenge on Mudd for his insult in Down- 
ing's house. That he gave that evidence corruptly is 
shown by Wm. Watson, John R. Richardson, and 
Benjamin Naylor, who say that Thomas, after testify- 
ing against Mudd, went to see them, and said, that "if 
Dr. Mudd was convicted upon his testimony, he would 
then have given conclusive evidence that he gave the 
information that led to the detection of the conspira- 


tor!" "He then asked Mr. Benjamin J. Naylor if he 
did not mention to him and Gibbons, before the killing 
of the President, the language that Dr. Mudd had 
used. Mr. Naylor said that he had never done it, be- 
fore or after!" "He said his portion of the reward 
ought to be $10,000 — and asked me (Watson) if I 
would not, as the best loyal man in Prince George's 
County, give him a certificate of how much he ought 
to be entitled to." The testimony of Richards, and 
of Eli J. Watson, coupled with Thomas's testimony 
in denial of these statements, fill the record of infamy 
of this false witness. 

To accumulate evidence that Thomas's statement is 
utterly unreliable, the defense brought over twenty of 
his neighbors, who testified that he could not be be- 
lieved on oath — among whom were Naylor, Robey, 
Richards, Orme, Joseph Waters, John Waters, J. F. 
Watson, Eli Watson, Smith, Baden, Dickens, Haw- 
kins, Monroe, and others, of undisputed loyalty, nearly 
all of whom had known him from boyhood. His 
brother, Dr. Thomas, testifies that he is at times de- 
ranged; and Dr. Geo. Mudd says he is mentally and 
morally insane. And, although Thomas's evidence 
was the most important in the case against Dr. Mudd, 
the Judge-Advocate has not seriously attempted to 
sustain him — ^has not tried to show that he ever told 
or hinted at this story to anybody before the assas- 
sination — and has not asked one of the scores of wit- 
nesses for the prosecution in attendance from 
Thomas's neighborhood a question as to his reputation 
for veracity — except Wm. Watson, who said it was 
decidedly bad. A feeble attempt was made to sustain 
him by endeavoring to show that he was a zealous sup- 
porter of the Administration, and that, therefore, the 
general voice of his community was against him. But 
we showed he was a rebel at the beginning of the war, 


and an opponent of the Administration at the last 
election — and then the Judge-Advocate dropped him. 
This is all the evidence of every act or word done 
or said by anybody, prior to the assassination, tending 
in the remotest degree to connect Mudd with the con- 
spiracy. It consists, in large part, of the testimony of 
the five negroes, as to the Confederate officers fre- 
quenting Mudd's house last year and the year before — 
two of them, Milo and Mary Sims, as to Surratt's 
visiting his house last year — of Evans as to Mudd's 
going to Surratt's house last winter — of Evans and 
Norton as to Mudd being here on the 3d of March — of 
Weichmann as to the interview between Mudd, Booth, 
and Surratt, about the middle of January — and of 
Thomas as to Mudd's prediction of the assassination 
in March. I venture to say that rarely in the annals 
of criminal trials has the life of an accused been as- 
sailed by such an array of false testimony as is ex- 
hibited in the evidence of these nine witnesses — and 
rarely has it been the good fortune of an innocent man, 
arraigned and on trial for his life, to so confute and 
overwhelm his accusers. I feel it would be a waste of 
time and an imputation on the intelligence of the Court 
to delay it with fuller discussion of the evidence of 
these witnesses — and feel sure it will cast their testi- 
mony from its deliberations, or recollect it only to re- 
flect how foully and mistakenly the accused has been 

Having now discussed all the evidence adduced that 
calls for discussion, or may by possibility be relied on 
as showing Mudd's acquaintance with Booth, or con- 
nection with the conspiracy, and having, I think, 
shown that there is no reliable evidence that he ever 
met Booth before the assassination but once on Sun- 
day, and once the day following, in November last, I 
will proceed to a consideration of the testimony relied 


on to show that he knowingly aided the escape of the 

1st. Why did Booth go to Dr. Mudd's and stop 
there from daybreak till near sundown on his flight? 
I answer, because he had a broken leg and needed a 
physician to set it. And as to the length of the stay, 
the wonder is he was able to ride off on horse-back 
with his broken and swollen limb at all — not that he 
took ten hours' rest. The Court will observe, from 
the map in evidence, that Booth, taking Surrattsville 
in his route to Pope's Creek, opposite Matthias Point, 
where he crossed the Potomac (Captain Doherty), 
traveled at least eight or ten miles out of his way to 
go, after leaving Surrattsville, by Dr. Mudd's. (See 
Dyer's testimony.) Would he have gone that far out 
of his route to the Potomac crossing if he had not 
broken his leg ? Or was it part of his plan to break it ? 
Obviously, he could not in advance have planned to 
escape by crossing the Patuxcnt, nor to evade his pur- 
suers by lying concealed in Charles County, within six 
hours' ride of Washington. He must, as a sane man, 
have contemplated and planned escape across the 
Potomac into Virginia, and thence South or abroad; 
and it could never have been part either of the plan of 
abduction, or of that of assassination, to go the cir- 
cuitous route to a crossing of the Potomac by Bryan- 
town or Dr. Mudd's. So that the fact of Booth going 
to the house of the accused, and stopping to get his leg 
set and to rest, does not necessarily lead to any con- 
clusion unfavorable to the accused. 

Booth got there, with Herold, about daybreak. 
(Frank Washington.) He usually wore a mustache 
(see photograph), but he then wore heavy whiskers, 
and had his face muffled in a shawl, so as to disguise 
him. The disguise was kept up all day. (Colonel 
Wells.) He was taken to a lounge in the hall, and 


then to a front room up-stairs, where the broken bone 
was set, where a fee of $25 was paid for the service, 
and where, it is probable, he slept most of the day. 
They represented that the leg had been broken by a 
fall of the horse ; that they had come from Bryantown, 
and were going to Parson Wilmer's. After breakfast 
accused went to his field to work. Herold, whom 
Mudd had never met (Colonel Wells), came down to 
breakfast and dinner with the family, and after dinner 
he and Mudd went off together to the house of Mudd's 
father, to get a family carriage to take the wounded 
man to the house of Parson Wilmer, five miles off, at 
Piney Chapel. (Lovett, Wells.) Now, can any man 
suppose for a moment that Mudd, at this time, had the 
slightest suspicion or intimation of the awful tragedy 
of the night before ? Could he, knowing or suspecting 
the crime or the criminal, have thus recklessly given 
himself up to arrest and trial, by publicly aiding the 
escape of the assassin ? Could he have been ready to 
expose his old father to suspicion by thus borrowing 
his carriage, which would have been noticed by every 
man, woman, and child on the road, to carry off the 
assassin? Impossible! I need nothing more of the 
Court than its consideration of this fact, to clear the 
accused of all suspicion of having, up to that time, 
known or suspected that a crime had been committed 
by the crippled stranger, whom he was openly and 
kindly seeking to aid. 

But the carriage could not be got, and Mudd and 
Herold rode off toward Bryantown to get one there. 
Colonel Wells thinks the accused told him that Her- 
old turned back when getting one and a half miles 
from the elder Mudd's house, saying he could take his 
friend off on horseback. Betty Briscoe and Eleanor 
Bloyce, however, say they saw a man riding toward 


Bryantown with the accused, who turned back at the 
bridge at the edge of the town. 

Mudd made some purchases of caHco and other 
articles, and heard of the assassination. (Bean.) It 
was not generally known then among the citizens who 
was the assassin. (Bean, Roby, Trotter, B. W. 
Gardiner, M. L. McPherson, John McPherson.) In 
fact, it was not generally known with certainty at the 
theater, or in Washington, Friday night, whether 
Booth was the murderer. (Gobright.) In Bryan- 
town it was commonly understood that Boyle, a noted 
desperado of that region, who assassinated Captain 
Watkins last fall, was one of the assassins. (M. L,. 
McPherson, Bean, Trotter, Roby. ) It was not known 
that the murderer had been tracked into that neighbor- 
hood. (Bean, Dr. George Mudd.) Lieutenant Dana 
told Dr. George Mudd, Saturday afternoon, that Boyle 
assassinated Mr. Seward and Booth the President, but 
that he thought Booth had not then got out of Wash- 
ington. Even next day (Sunday) it was reported 
there that it was Bdwin Booth who killed the Presi- 

The accused left Bryantown about four o'clock to 
return home. Betty Briscoe says the same man who 
had turned back at the bridge stopped in the edge of a 
branch, which the road crosses a couple of hundred 
yards from the bridge, until Mudd returned from 
town, and then they rode off together across the 
branch, "up the road." But Boos says he saw Mudd 
a couple of hundred yards beyond that crossing leis- 
urely going through the farm Booz lives on, by a near- 
cut which he usually traveled, alone; and that he 
would himself have probably noticed the man at the 
crossing ; which was in full view of where he was, had 
he been waiting there; and would have certainly 
noticed him had he been with Mudd traveling the main 


road, when Mudd turned into the cut-off through the 
farm — but he saw no one but the accused. Susan 
Stezvart also saw Mudd in the by-road returning home 
alone, and did not see any man going the main road, 
which was in full view. I call the attention of the 
Court to the plat by which the branch and these roads 
are shown, and to the fact that there is no road turning 
off from the main road between Booz's place and 
Bryantown, except the side road by Booz's house. If 
further refutation of the testimony of Betty Briscoe on 
this point be required, it is found in the evidence of 
Primus Johnson, who saw Herold pass the elder 
Mudd's in the main road, going toward the house of 
the accused, and some time after that himself caught 
a horse in the pasture, and rode toward Bryantown, 
and met and passed Dr. Mudd coming leisurely from 
Bryantown, alone, at Booz's farm; and that from the 
time he saw Herold until he met and passed Mudd 
was full an hour and a half. And in the evidence of 
John Acton, who was on the roadside, three miles 
from Bryantown when Herold passed, at between 
three and four o'clock, and who remained there an 
hour, and Dr. Mudd did not go by in that time. 
Acton also says that between the time Herold and 
Mudd went toward Bryantown and the time Herold 
returned alone was but three-quarters of an hour. 
From the fact that Herold could not have ridden to 
the bridge and back in that time (six miles), it seems 
highly probable that he did not go to the bridge, but 
turned back about where Colonel Wells thinks Mudd 
said he did. But however that may be is not impor- 
tant, as it is certain from the evidence of these four 
witnesses that Herold did not wait at the branch for 
Mudd's return from Bryantown. 

As Mudd rode home, he turned out of his way to 
see his neighbor, Hardy (who lives half-way between 


the house of the accused and Bryantown), about some 
rail-timber he had engaged there. The house is not in 
view of the road, a clump of pine intervening. He 
told Hardy and Farrell of the news. Hardy says : 

"He said to me that there was terrible news nozv, 
that the President and Mr. Seward and his son had 
been assassinated the evening before. Something was 
said in that connection about Boyle (the man who is 
said to have killed Captain Watkins) assassinating 
Mr. Seward. I remember that Booth's name was 
mentioned in the same connection, and I asked him if 
Booth was the man who had been down there. His 
reply was that he did not know whether it was that 
man or one of his brothers ; he understood that he had 
some brothers. That ended the conversation, except 
that he said it was one of the most terrible calamities 
that could have befallen the country at this time. 

"Q. Did you say that it was understood or said that 
Booth was the assassin of the President? — A. There 
was some such remark made, but I do not exactly 
remember the remark." 

They both say he seemed heartily sorry for the 
calamity, and that he said he had just come from 
Bryantown, and heard the news there. Hardy says 
he stayed there only about ten minutes, and left just 
about sundown. Farrell corroborates Hardy as to the 
conversation, except that he reports nothing as to 
Boyle's name being mentioned; but he says the con- 
versation was going on when he joined Hardy and 
Mudd. He says the house is less than a quarter of a 
mile off the road, and that accused stayed there about 
fifteen minutes. 

Now, I ask the Court, what is there up to this point 
to indicate that Mudd knew or had any suspicion that 
the broken-legged man was implicated in the crime? 
If there is anything in proof showing that fact, I fail 


to find it. True, he had met Booth twice in Novem- 
ber — five months before. Had seen him that dark, 
cloudy morning, at day-break, faint with fatigue and 
suffering, muffled in his shawl and disguised in a heavy 
beard; had ministered to him in the dim light of a 
candle, whose rays struggled with the dull beams of 
the opening day; had seen him, perhaps, sleeping in 
the darkened chamber, his mustache then shaved off, 
his beard still on, his effort at concealment still main- 
tained. (Wells.) And here let me remind the 
Court, that there is nothing in the evidence showing 
that Booth spoke a word — but where either of the men 
are referred to as saying anything, "the smaller man" 
was the spokesman. L-et it be remembered too that 
Booth was an actor, accustomed by years of profes- 
sional practice to disguise his person, his features, and 
his tones — so that if Mudd had been an intimate asso- 
ciate, instead of a mere casual acquaintance, it would 
have been easy for Booth to maintain a disguise even 
when subjected to close scrutiny under circumstances 
favorable to recognition. If the Court will also con- 
sider with what delicacy a physician and a gentleman 
would naturally refrain from an obtrusive scrutiny of 
a patient coming to his house under the circumstances, 
they will appreciate how easy it was for Booth to avoid 
recognition, and how probable that Mudd had no sus- 
picion who his patient was. Had he recognized Booth 
before he went to Bryantown, and heard there that 
name connected with the "terrible calamity," would he 
have jogged quietly home, stopping to chat with Booz, 
to look after his rail-timber, to talk of the names of 
the assassins with his neighbors? Unless the Court 
start out with the hypothesis of guilt, and substitutes 
unsupported suspicion for proof, — which I respect 
them too highly to fear for a moment they will do, — 


they cannot charge him with a recognition of Booth 
before he returned home from Bryantown. 

Hardy says it was about sundown when Mudd left ; 
Farrell says about five o'clock. He had two miles to 
ride home. It must have been sundown when he got 
home, and the men had just gone. Betty Washington 
says that three or four minutes after Herold (the last 
of the two) disappeared toward the swamp, Mudd 
came through the hall to the kitchen, and was then first 
seen by her after his return from Bryantown. The 
other servants had not come from the field when the 
men started — and we are therefore left to that one 
witness to show that the statement of Simon Gavacan, 
one of the detectives, who says "he thinks" Mudd 
said he went with them part of the way, is incorrect. 
It is inconsistent, too, with Mudd's statement to Colo- 
nel Wells on the subject, which is as follows: "The 
Doctor said that as he came back to the house he saw 
the person that he afterward supposed to be Herold, 
passing to the left of the house, and toward the barn 
or the stable; that he did not see the other person at 
all after he left him at the house, which was about one 
o'clock, I think." This statement, and that of Betty 
Washington, last above quoted, coincide with and 
strengthen each other. 

It is true Dr. Mudd did say to all who asked him that 
he had shown Herold the way to Parson Wilmer's by 
the short route, but this was in the morning, soon after 
the parties reached the house, and before the idea of 
the carriage appears to have been suggested. This is 
shown by the statement of Colonel Wells, who says 
that the accused, in the same conversation in ivhich he 
said that Booth and Herold had just gone from the 
house as he came up, told him that, "Herold, the 
younger of them, asked him the direct route to Piney 
Chapel, Dr. Wilmer's, saying that he was acquainted 


with Dr. Wilmer." He described the main traveled 
road, which leads to the right of his house, and was 
then asked if there was not a shorter or nearer road. 
He said, "Yes, there is a road across the swamp that 
is about a mile nearer, I think" ; he said it was five 
miles from his house to Piney Chapel by the direct 
road and four miles by the marsh, and undertook to 
give him (as he said) a description by which they 
could go by the nearer route. He said that the direc- 
tions were these — they were to pass down by his barn, 
inclining to the left, and then pass straight forward in 
a new direction across the marsh, and that on passing 
across the marsh they would come to a hill; keeping 
over the hill, they would come in sight of the roof of 
a barn, and letting down one or two fences they would 
reach the direct road. 

The accused meant, of course, that this inquiry and 
explanation occurred before his return to the house 
from Bryantown — and so Colonel Wells understood 
him, for he so in eflfect says. The statement of the 
accused to Dr. Geo. Mudd, the next day after Booth 
left, is to the same effect. He said, "That these 
parties stated that they came from Bryantown, and 
were inquiring the way to the Rev. Dr. Wilmer's" — 
thus putting their inquiry for the route to Parson Wil- 
mer's in direct connection with their early explanation 
as to whence they came. 

I have no doubt that Gavacan, the detective, recol- 
lects an inference which he, and perhaps also his asso- 
ciate detective, Williams, drew from Dr. Mudd saying 
that he had shown Herold the route to Parson Wil- 
mer's, that he showed it as Booth and Herold were 
leaving. But the inferences of detectives, under the 
strong stimulus of prospective rewards, are inferences 
generally of guilt ; and that these gentlemen were not 
free from the weaknesses of their profession, and that 


they grossly misrepresented Dr. Mudd in other im- 
portant statements, will presently be shown to the sat- 
isfaction of the Court. 

Now, if Mudd did not know, when he talked with 
Hardy about the assassination, and spoke of Booth in 
connection with it, that the assassin was at his 
house, — as I think the evidence shows he did not, — 
then when did he first suspect it ? Colonel Wells says 
his inference was, from something the accused said, 
that he suspected the crippled man to be Booth before 
he left the premises. The evidence not only shows 
that when Mudd returned Booth had gone out of 
sight, but it also shows what fact it was that, added to 
the undue excitement of the strangers, and to the fact 
that the crippled man shaved off his mustache, thor- 
oughly aroused his suspicion. It was the fact that his 
wife said to him, after they left, that as the crippled 
man came down to go his false zvhiskers became 
detached from his face. (Lieut. Lovett.) When she 
told him this, and what he said or proposed to do, was 
not shown by the prosecution, and, by the rules of evi- 
dence, could not he by the defense. But that was a 
fact which could not probably have been communicated 
to Mudd by his wife until Booth had gone. 

In the evidence adduced as to Mudd's subsequent 
conduct and statements, I need only call the attention 
of the Court to two points, for in it there is nothing 
else against him. 

1st. He did not tell on Tuesday that the boot was 
there, far down in the leg of which was found by the 
officers "J. Wilkes," written in pale ink. I answer, 
the boot was not found by his wife until several days 
after the assassin left, and was then found in sweeping 
under the bed. (Hardy.) We have every reason to 
suppose it was not found until after Tuesday, for the 
accused, on Friday, before a question waS asked or a 


word communicated to him, told of the boot himself, 
and had it produced, and said, in presence of his wife, 
it was found by her after the officers were there before. 

2d. Of the three detectives who went to the house 
of accused, Tuesday, Williams says : Accused denied 
throughout that two men had been there ; yet he says 
on cross-examination, that accused, in the same con- 
versation, pointed out the route the men had taken 
toward Wilmer's. Gavacan said he at first denied two 
men had passed there, and then admitted it. Lloyd 
says he denied it from beginning to end, on Tuesday. 
But Lieutenant Lovett, who went with and in com- 
mand of these detectives, speaking of this interview on 
Tuesday, says: "We first asked whether there had 
been any strangers at his house and he said there 
were." The three detectives are manifestly mistaken ; 
either from infirmity of memory, or from some less 
pardonable cause, they have failed to recollect and 
truthfully render what Dr. Mudd did say on that sub- 

The commentators upon the law of evidence give a 
caution which it may be well for the Court to observe. 
They admonish us how easy it is for a corrupt witness 
to falsify a conversation of a person accused, and as 
the accused cannot be heard, how difficult, if not im- 
possible, contradiction is. How easy for an honest 
witness to misunderstand, or in repeating what was 
said to substitute his own language or inference for 
the language which was really used, and thus change 
its whole meaning and import. In no case can the 
caution be more pertinent than in this. The very 
frenzy of madness ruled the hour. Reason was swal- 
lowed up in patriotic passion, and a feverish and in- 
tense excitement pi'evailed most unfavorable to a calm, 


correct hearing and faithful repetition of what was 
said, especially by the suspected. Again, and again, 
and again the accused was catechised by detectives, 
each of whom was vieing with the other as to which 
should make the most important discoveries, and each 
making the examination with a preconceived opinion of 
guilt, and with an eager desire, if not determination, 
to find in what might be said the proofs of guilt. 
Again, the witnesses against the accused have testified 
under the strong stimulus of promised reward for 
information leading to arrests and followed by convic- 
tions. (See order of Secretary of War.) At any 
time and in any community an advertisement of re- 
wards to informers would be likely to be responded 
to — at a time, and on an occasion like this, it would be 
a miracle if it failed of effect. In view of these con- 
siderations, the Court cannot be too vigilant in its 
scrutiny of the evidence of these detectives, or too cir- 
cumspect in determining the influence to be given to it. 
No more effective refutation of this statement, that 
Mudd denied on Tuesday that two strangers had been 
at his house, can be given, than to ask how came Lieu- 
tenant Lovett and the detectives at Dr. Mudd's? 
They did not scent out the track for themselves. 
They were at Bryantown on Saturday and were at 
fault, and had they been let alone would probably have 
remained at fault, and not have gone to Dr. Mudd's. 
By whom and when was the information given which 
brought them there? The next morning after the 
startling news of the assassination reached him, the 
accused went to Dr. George Mudd, a man of spotless 
integrity and veracity, and of loyalty unswerving 
through all the perilous and distressing scenes of the 
border war, and fully informed him of all that had 
occurred — the arrival of the two strangers, the time 
and circumstances under which they came, what he 


had done for them, the suspicions he entertained, when 
they departed, and what route they had taken; and 
requested him, on his behalf and in his name, to com- 
municate this information to the miHtary authorities 
on his return that day to Bryantown. Dr. George 
Mudd did make the communication as requested, on 
Monday morning, to Lieutenant Dana, and further 
informed him of Dr. Samuel Mudd's desire to be sent 
for for any further information which' it might be in 
his power to give. In consequence of this, and of this 
alone. Lieutenant Lovett and the detectives did, on 
Tuesday, go to the house of the accused, accompanied 
by Dr. George Mudd, who prefaced his introduction 
by informing the accused that, in accordance with his 
request, he had brought Lieutenant Lovett and the 
detectives to confer with him in reference to the 
strangers who had been at his house Saturday. Of 
these facts there is no doubt or dispute. They stand 
too prominently upon the record to be ignored or 
evaded. But for this information the ■ detectives 
would not have been at the house of the accused at all. 
They came at his request, and when they came it is 
absurd and idle to say that he denied, almost in the 
presence of Dr. George Mudd, who had been his 
messenger, and was then in the house, that the two 
strangers had been there. On the contrary, the evi- 
dence shows he imparted all he knew, and pointed out 
the route which the strangers took when they left — ^but 
which Lieutenant Lovett and the detectives did not at 
once pursue, because they chose to consider his state- 
ment uncandid, and intended to put them upon a false 
scent. Indeed, so accurate was the description given 
by the accused to Lieutenant Lovett, Tuesday, of the 
persons who had been at his house, that the Lieutenant 
says he was satisfied, from Mudd's description, they 
were Booth and Herold. 


It was in great part by reason of Dr. Mudd's having 
delayed from Saturday night until Sunday noon to 
send to the authorities at Bryantown information as to 
the suspected persons who had been at his house, that 
he was arrested and charged as a conspirator; and 
yet I assert this record shows he moved more promptly 
in communicating his information than they did in 
acting on it. His message was communicated to Lieu- 
tenant Dana Monday morning. Tuesday, Lieutenant 
Lovett and the detectives came, and that officer got 
such information from Dr. Mudd as convinced him the 
suspected persons were Booth and Herold, and yet it 
was not until Colonel Wells came, on Saturday, that 
an energetic effort was made to find the route of the 
assassin. On that day Dr. Mudd himself went with 
that officer, and followed the tracks on the route indi- 
cated beyond the marsh into a piece of ploughed 
ground, where the tracks were lost. But Colonel 
Wells had got the general direction, and it was in con- 
sequence of the information sent by the accused to the 
authorities the day after Booth left his house that he 
was tracked to the Potomac. 

But the evidence does not show that Dr. Mudd 
delayed at all in communicating his information, for it 
does not show when his wife told him of the false 
whiskers of the crippled man. But, admit she told 
him on Saturday evening, as soon as the men left. It 
was four miles to Bryantown, and his wife may have 
feared to be left alone that night. Boyle, who haunted 
that neighborhood, was understood by Dr. Mudd to 
have been one of the assassins (Hardy), and may not 
his or his wife's fears of the vengeance of that des- 
perado have prevented him communicating his sus- 
picions direct and in person to the officer at Bryan- 
town? He told Dr. George Mudd next day, when 
asking him to go to the authorities with the informa- 


tion, to caution them not to let it be publicly known 
that he had volunteered the statement, lest he might be 
assassinated in revenge for having done it. 

Hiaving thus presented and discussed somewhat in 
detail the testimony in this case, I now ask the indul- 
gence of the Court while I briefly review some of its 
leading features. 

Booth and Mudd met first in November last at 
church, near Bryantown, casually, and but for a few 
minutes. Their conversation was in presence of many 
others, including men of unquestioned loyalty. Next 
morning. Booth left Dr. Queen's, rode by Mudd's, 
talked of buying his farm, got him to show him over 
to Gardiner's, a quarter of a mile ofif, where he bought 
a horse, Mudd manifesting no interest in the purchase. 
They rode away together toward Mudd's house, and 
toward Bryantown, where Gardiner found Booth next 
morning at the village hotel. Booth was again at Dr. 
Queen's in the middle of December. But the evidence 
shows that he did not go into Mudd's neighborhood, 
or seek or see him. So far as we dare speak from the 
eviderice — and we should dare speak from nothing 
else — that is all the intercourse between Mudd and 
Booth in that neighborhood before the assassination. 

What was there in that to attract attention or excite 
remark toward Mudd more than to Dr. Queen or Mr. 
Gardiner, or any other gentleman in Charles County, 
to whom Booth had been introduced, and with whom 
he had conversed. All that is shown to have passed 
between them was perfectly natural and harmless, and 
nothing is to be presumed which was not shown. 
True, they might have talked of and plotted assassina- 
tion ; hut did they ? Is there, in the intercourse which 
had thus far occurred, any incident from which such 
a deduction could be drawn, or which would justify a 
suspicion that any such thing was thought of or hinted 


at? Nor did they ever meet again anywhere before 
the assassination, unless the testimony of Weichmann 
is to be accepted as true, which, upon this point, at least 
is quite unworthy of credence. He swears to having 
met Dr. Mudd and Booth in the City of Washington, 
about the middle of January — certainly after the holi- 
days. But it is in proof by many witnesses, who 
cannot be mistaken, have not been impeached, and who 
unquestionably stated the truth, that Dr. Mudd was 
from home but one night from the 23d of December 
to the 23d of March, and that night at a party in his 
own neighborhood. If this be so, and there is no 
reason to doubt it, then Weichmann's statement cannot 
be true. The mildest thing that can be said of him, 
as of Norton, is, that he was mistaken in the man. 
That which was attempted to be shown by this contra- 
dicted witness (Weichmann) was, that Dr. Mudd and 
Booth, who were almost strangers to each other, met 
Surratt, to whom Booth was unknown, at the National 
Hotel, and within half an hour after the meeting 
plotted the assassination of the President, his Cabinet, 
the Vice-President, and General Grant— all this in 
Washington, and in the presence of a man whom one 
of the supposed conspirators knew to be an employee 
of the War Department, and had reason to believe was 
a Government detective! It is monstrous to believe 
any such thing occurred. It outrages all that we have 
learned of the philosophy of human nature, all that we 
know of the motives and principles of human actions. 
And yet, if Mudd was not then and there inducted into 
the plot, he never was. He never saw Booth again 
until after the assassination, and never saw any of the 
other conspirators at all. Twice, then, and twice 
only — unless the Court shall accept the testimony of 
Weichmann against the clear proofs of an alibi, and 
then only three times — he and Booth had met. None 


of these meetings occurred later than the isth of 
January. They are shown to have been accidental 
and brief. The parties had but little conversation, 
and portions of that little have been repeated to the 
Court. So far as it has been disclosed, it was as inno- 
cent as the prattle of children, and not a word was 
breathed that can be tortured into criminality — ^not a 
word or an act that betokens malign purposes. 
Against how many scores of loyal persons, even in 
this community, may stronger evidence be adduced 
than against Mudd, if the mere fact of meeting and 
conversing with Booth is to be accepted as evidence of 
guilt? Booth was a guest at the National Hotel — in- 
telligent, agreeable, of attractive manner, with no 
known blemish on his character as a man or a citizen. 
He had the entree of the drawing-rooms, and mingled 
freely with the throngs that assembled there. His 
society, so far from being shunned, was courted ; and 
the fairest ladies of the land, the daughters of distin- 
guished statesmen and patriots, deemed it, no dispar- 
agement to them to accept his escort and attentions. 
It is not extravagant to say, that hundreds of true, 
Union-loving, loyal people in this and other cities, were 
on terms of cordial and intimate association with him. 
And why should they not have been ? He was under 
no suspicion. They did not shun him. Why should 
Mudd ? And why shall what was innocent in them be 
held proof of guilt in him? Let it be remembered in 
this connection, that Dr. Mudd's house was searched 
and his papers seized ; that Surratt's house was seized 
and searched; that all the effects of Booth, Atzerodt, 
Arnold, Herold, Spangler, and Mrs. Surratt, that 
could be found, were seized and examined; and that 
among them all not a letter, a note, a memorandum, 
not the scrape of a pen by any person or in any form, 
has been found implicating Dr. Mudd. Let it further 


be remembered, that all these persons have been sub- 
jected to repeated examinations, under appalling cir- 
cumstances, by various officials of the Government, 
eager to catch the faintest intimation of Mudd's com- 
plicity, and that not one of them has mentioned or 
hinted at his name. Let it also be remembered, that 
anonymous letters have been picked up in railroad- 
cars, found in pigeon-holes at hotels, rescued from the 
waves, and that the continent has been traversed and 
the ocean vexed in search of proofs of the conspiracy, 
its instigators, leaders, and abettors, and that in all 
this written and oral testimony there is not a word 
making the remotest allusion to Dr. Mudd. The 
probabilities are as a thousand to one that he never 
knew, or heard, or imagined, of a purpose, much less 
plotted in a conspiracy, either to capture or to assassi- 
nate the President. There is not only a failure to 
show his connection affirmatively, but, if the rules of 
law be reversed, and guilt presumed until innocence be 
shown, then, I say, he has carried his proofs in nega- 
tion of complicity to a point as near demonstration as 
it is possible for circumstantial evidence to reach. I 
once more concede that (if the Court accept Weich- 
mann's statement) it is possible he may have talked 
treason and plotted assassination with Booth and Sur- 
ratt, but it is indefinitely removed from the probable; 
and neither liberty nor life is to be forfeited upon 
either probabilities or possibilities. I cannot bring 
myself to fear that this Commission will sanction 
what, in my judgment, would be so shocking and in- 
defensible a conclusion. 

If he and Booth had, at the alleged meeting in 
January, confederated for the perpetration of one of 
the most stupendous and startling crimes in the annals 
of human depravity, who can doubt that frequent 
meetings and consultations would thereafter have 


occurred, and that they would have increased in fre- 
quency as the time for the consummation of the atro- 
cious plot approached ? Yet, though within six hours' 
ride of each other, they had no meetings, no consulta- 
tions, no intercourse, no communication, no concert, 
but were in total ignorance of each other's movements 
and purposes. Mudd was here the 23d of March, but 
he was not here for the purpose of seeing Booth, nor 
did he see him. He made no inquiry for him; did 
not call at his hotel; saw none of his associates; did 
not speak of him; did not, so far as appears, even 
think of him. On the nth of April, only three days 
before the frightful tragedy was enacted, Mudd was at 
Giesboro, in sight of Washington. Booth was then at 
the National Hotel; and if Mudd was leagued with 
him, that was the time of all others, from the concep- 
tion to the consummation of the deed, when he would 
have seen and conferred with him. If Mudd was a 
conspirator, he knew of Booth's presence here then; 
yet he did not come to the city — did not inquire for 
Booth, see him, hold communication with him, learn 
whether he was in Washington or Boston, Nassau or 
lyondon. Three days only before the frightful 
tragedy — three days before the world was astonished 
by its enactment! Imagine, if you can — if he was a 
conspirator — what a tumult of thought and emotion 
must have agitated him then— what doubts and mis- 
givings — what faltering and rallying of resolution — 
what invocations to "stop up the access and passage 
to remorse" — and then ask your own hearts and judg- 
ments if it is natural, or possible, that, at such a 
moment and under such circumstances, he could 
quietly have transacted the business that brought him 
to Giesboro, then turn his back upon Washington, 
indifferent to the failure or success of the events with 
which his own life, the happiness of his family, and 


all that was dear to him on earth, were bound up? If 
a conspirator, he knew what had been, and what was to 
be, done. He knew that the hour for the bloody busi- 
ness was at hand, and that everything depended upon 
the secrecy and success of its execution. Yet he was 
indifferent. He sought no interview with his sup- 
posed confederates — gave them no counsel or assist- 
ance — took no precautions for security — gave no signs 
of agitation or concern — ^but, in sight of the place and 
the agents selected for the enactment of the horrible 
deeds, turned his back upon them all, with an indif- 
ference that bordered upon idiocy, quietly trafficked .it 
Giesboro, and returned to the seclusion of his family 
and farm. You know, gentlemen, that this is impos- 
sible. You know that it could not have happened 
without outraging every law of human nature and 
human action. You know that at such an hour his 
soul would have been shaken with the maddest storm 
and tempest of passion, and that no mere business 
afifair on earth could have seduced his thought for a 
moment from the savage slaughter he had in hand. It 
would have engrossed all his thoughts, and shaped all 
his actions. No one can, in the strong light of the 
evidence, believe he was a conspirator.' 

I then confidently conclude that Dr. Mudd cannot 
be convicted as a principal in the felony. He did not 
participate in its commission, and was more than thirty 
miles distant from the scene when it iwas committed. 
He cannot be convicted as an accessory before the fact, 
for the evidence fails to show that he had any knowl- 
edge or suspicion of an intention to commit it. If, 
then, he is to be held responsible at all, it is an acces- 
sory after the fact. Does the evidence implicate him 
in that character? What is an accessory after the 

An accessory after the fact is when a person, 


knowing a felony to have been committed, receives, 
relieves, comforts, or assists him whom he knows to be 
the felon. He must know that the felon is guilty to 
make him an accessory, (i Chit. Crim. Law, 264.) 

Any assistance given to him to hinder his being 
apprehended, tried, or punished, is sufficient to convict 
the offender — as lending him a horse to escape his 
pursuers ; but the assistance or support must be given 
in order to favor an illegal escape, (i Chit. Crim. 
Law, 265.) If a man receives, harbors, or otherwise 
assists to elude justice, one whom he knows to be 
guilty of felony, he becomes thereby an accessory after 
the fact in the felony. ( i Bishop's Crim. Law, 487. ) 
Obviously, a man to be an accessory after the fact must 
be aware of the guilt of his principal; and, therefore, 
one cannot become an accessory by helping to escape 
a prisoner convicted of felony, unless he has notice of 
the conviction, or at least of the felony committed. 
(i Bishop's Crim. Law, 488.) The charge against an 
accessory consists of two parts — first, of the felonious 
situation of the principal ; and, secondly, of the guilty 
knowledge and conduct of the accessory. It will thus 
be seen that knowledge of the crime committed, and of 
the guilt of the principal who is aided, and aid and 
assistance after acquiring that knowledge, are all 
necessary to charge one as accessory after the fact. 

Now, let us apply the facts to the law, and see 
whether Dr. Mudd falls within the rule. On the 
morning after the assassination, about daybreak, Booth 
arrived at his house. He did not find the Doctor on 
watch for him, as a guilty accomplice, expecting his 
arrival, would have been, but he and all his household 
were in profound sleep. Booth came with a broken 
leg, and his companion, Herold, reported that it had 
happened by the fall of his horse, and that they had 
come from Bryantown, and were going to Parson 


Wilmer's. The Doctor rose from his bed, assisted 
Booth into the house, laid him upon a sofa, took him 
up stairs to a bed, set the fractured bone, sent him a 
razor to shave himself, permitted him to remain there 
to sleep and rest, and had a pair of rude crutches im- 
provised for his use. For all this he received the 
ordinary compensation for services rendered to 
strangers. He then went to his field to work. After 
dinner, while the day was still dark, and Booth still 
resting disguised in his chamber, Mudd left the house 
with Herold. Even though he had known of the 
assassination, and that his patient was the assassin, 
none of these acts of assistance would have made him 
an accessoiy after the fact. "If a person supply a 
felon with food, or other necessaries for his sustenance, 
or professionally attend him sick or wounded, though 
he know him to he a felon, these acts will not be suffi- 
cient to make a party an accessory after the fact." 
(Wharton's American Criminal Law, p. 73.) But he 
did not know, and had no reason to suspect, that his 
patient was a fugitive murderer. The most zealous 
advocate would not venture to assert that the evidence 
warrants such conclusion; much less will it be 
assumed by one acting under the solemn responsibili- 
ties of judge. Down, then, to the time Mudd left 
home with Herold, after dinner, the evidence aflfords 
no pretext for asserting he was an accessory after the 

But if he was not thai an accessory, he never was. 
It is shown that Herold turned back on the way to 
Bryantown, and when Mudd returned he and Booth 
had gone. And the evidence does not show that he 
suspected them of having been guilty of any wrong, 
until his wife told him, after they had gone, that the 
whiskers of the crippled man fell off as he came down 
stairs to go. True, Booth was guilty, and Mudd had 


shown his companion the route to Wilmer's; which 
was the only thing done by Mudd, from first to last, 
that could have implicated him, even had he from the 
■first knozvn the crime and the criminal. But when hf 
did that, he did not know either ; for he did not know 
the crime until he went to Bryantown, nor have even 
the least suspicion of the criminal, until after Booth 
had gone. I have read you the law — the scienter must 
be shown. Things not appearing and not existing 
stand before the law in the same category; and the 
guilty knowledge not appearing in evidence, in the eye 
of the law it does not exist. In this case it is not only 
not shown, but is negatived by the evidence. The con- 
clusion most unfavorable to Mudd which the evidence 
can possibly justify is, that, having had his suspicions 
thoroughly aroused Saturday night, he delayed until 
Sunday noon to communicate them to the authorities. 
"If A knows B hath committed a felony, hut doth not 
discover it, this doth not make A an accessory after 
the fact." (ist Hale's Pleas of the Crown, 6i8.) 
"Merely suffering a felon to escape will not charge the 
party so doing — such amounting to a mere omission." 
(Whar. Am. Crim. Law, 73.) " 

Can, then. Dr. Mudd be convicted as a conspirator, 
or an accessory before or after the fact, in the assassi- 
nation ? If this tribunal is to be governed in its find- 
ings by the just and time-honored rules of law, he 
cannot ; if by some edict higher than constitutions and 
laws, I know not what to anticipate or how to defend 
him. With confidence in the integrity of purpose of 
the Court and its legal advisers, I now leave the case 
to them. 



A few days after my father left Washington 
for the Dry Tortugas, my mother received this 
letter from Sister Mary Rose, a former teacher, 
and a cousin, and a sister of Dr. George D. 

From our Monastery of Frederick, 

July 19, 1865. 
My own dearest Frank : 

I need not, my very dear child, assure you how 
bitterly and sincerely I have grieved with you and for 
you in these past days of our affliction and anguish. 

And how ardently too I have sought God for grace 
and strength to sustain and support you and our loved 
ones while the storm passed by. You know me too 
well, darling, to doubt of my tender sympathy for you 
even in smaller trials, and if I have been silent for a 
while may not my very silence have told you that I 
have been too sad, too sick at heart, even to write? 

Our poor dear Sam ! What a siege of suffering he 
has gone through and for an act of charity. How 
wonderful and hidden are the ways of God! And it 
is not for us to question these mysterious ways of His 
providence. It is our part only to join our hands in 
humble submission, deeming ourselves happy even to 
be thought worthy to suffer for His Holy Name's 

Yes, believe me, my heart has been with you and 
the rest of our dear afflicted friends, and although the 


cross for me has been very, veiy heavy, gladly, had it 
been possible, would I have borne a greater portion to 
have relieved you and others. But I trust now the 
end is near, and that our dear one will soon again 
rejoin his own happy family, which I am sure will then 
be even happier than ever. 

I have had kind letters from each of my brothers 
regarding Sam and they have grieved for him as for 
an own brother; indeed, my heart has been touched 
even to tears to see their solicitude and tender devotion 
for him. George's last gave me much consolation. 

"The Government," he says, "in all its endeavors 
has been unable to prove anything against our own 
dear friend and relative, Sam. The Military Court, 
however, will be harsh with him I fear ; but even so, 
no matter, we will have everything prepared to obtain 
his speedy release and return to his interesting and 
lovely family," etc. Alice Burch said she would tell 
you the rest. 

Please give kind and tender love to dear ones, and 
believe me. Your cousin, 

Siste;r Mary Rosb. 

Not knowing where my father had been 
sent, my mother wrote to General Ewing and 
enclosed a letter for him. General Ewing at 
the time was away, and before his return my 
mother had received a letter from my father, 
which was mailed at Charleston. As soon as 
General Ewing returned, he answered her let- 
ter in the following terms : 

Washington, July 31, 1865. 
Dear Madam : 

I was absent with my family when your letter of the 
nth of July was received, enclosing letter addressed 


to your husband, and only returned a few days ago. 
I have sent your letter to the Secretary of War with a 
request that he will cause it to be sent to wherever the 
Doctor now is. I do not know where he has been sent, 
but it will be known soon I guess. If he has gone to 
the Tortugas, nothing can be done in his case until the 
Supreme Court sits, which will be next December. 

Your affidavit, with the affidavits of Doctor Bland- 
ford, Sylvester Mudd, and Mr. Dyer, were laid before 
the President accompanied with a letter from me to 
him showing the relation of the facts stated in your 
affidavit to the other evidence. He read the papers, 
and informed me that the sentence would not be 
changed by him as at present advised. So there is no 
hope for the Doctor's release, except from the courts 
or from Congress. 

I regret very greatly on your account, as well as his, 
that my hopes of his speedy release are frustrated, or 
likely to be, by the removal of your husband beyond 
the jurisdiction of an established State Court, and that 
the President will not give to your evidence the weight 
it deserves. You should seek comfort, however, in the 
reflection that the vindictive and energetic effort to 
take his life failed, and that he will be returned to you 
before many months in spite of all that can be done by 
the Administration to keep him imprisoned. If he is 
sent to the Tortugas, the place is better for his health 
than almost any other. The island is dry, and the 
climate good. Rely on it, wherever he has gone his 
sanguine temperament will buoy him up, and preserve 
his health and strength. You doubtless saw in the ac- 
count of their trip to Fort Monroe, that the Doctor 
was in excellent spirits. 

With very best wishes for you and your family, 
1 am, Y^T^ truly your friend, 

Thomas Ewing, Jr. 


A letter of Mr. R. T. Merrick, advisory coun- 
sel for the defense, written to Dr. J. H. Bland- 
ford, my father's brother-in-law: 

Washington City, August 12, 1865. 
J. H. Blandford, Esq. 

Dear Sir: Yours of the 8th instant, with the en- 
closed letters, were received a few days since, on my 
return from the country. On reflection, I think it bet- 
ter not to enclose the letters, but will leave them with 
the young man in my office, in an envelope addressed 
to you, and should I not be in when you call, you can, 
therefore, get them. 

After reading and carefully considering the letters, 
I have concluded that their publication could do no 
good, and might do harm. Let this cruel and unfor- 
tunate affair rest quiet for the present. It will wake 
with greater vigor when the time comes to arouse it. 

When the time does come, I will let Mrs. Mudd 
know. When you are in the city call and see me, and 
we will exchange views in regard to the subject. 

Present my kindest regards to Mrs. Mudd when you 
see her. She must exercise patience and fortitude in 
her afflictions, and abide the day of her deliverance. 
Very truly yours, etc., 

R. T. MURRiCK, Atty. 

The following letter explains itself. It gives 
credence to rumors never authenticated. The 
result was that my father was put in chains and 
subjected to most rigorous restraint: 

Louisville, Ky., August 17, 1865, 9 A. M. 
Hon. T. T. Echert, 

Actg. Asst. Sec. of War : 

I have important papers. I think the commanding 
officer at the Dry Tortugas should be put on his guard 


against an attempt to rescue the State prisoners in his 

A company is organizing in New Orleans for that 
purpose. I have all the facts from a reliable source. 

(Signed) L. C. Baker, 
Br. Gen'l Pro. Mar. War Dept. 

A true copy: 
A. G. Office, Aug. 17, 1865. 

E. D. TowNSEND, Asst. Ad j .-Gen. 

The second letter my mother received from 
her husband, after being taken from Washing- 
ton to the Tortugas. The one written her by 
him, and mailed from Charleston, was lost. 

Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugus, Florida, 

August 24, 1865. 
My Dearest Frank: 

To-day one month ago we arrived here. Time 
passes very slowly and seems longer than that period — 
years gone by, apparently no longer. What do you 
think? I have received no letter or news whatever 
from home since being here. One or two of those 
who came down with me have received letters, con- 
taining no news, and do not advert to the possibility or 
the subject of release. 

You know, my dear Frank, that that subject is the 
all-absorbing one of my mind. Frank must be sick — 
the little children are sick — some may be dead, or some 
other misfortune has happened, are questions fre- 
quently revolving in my mind and heart, and the dear 
ones at home are unwilling to break the cruel intelli- 
gence to me. 

My dear Frank, were it not for you and those at 


home, I could pass the balance of my days here per- 
fectly content or satisfied. Without you and the chil- 
dren, what is life for me — a blank, a void. Then, my 
dear Frank, if you have any regard for me, which you 
know I have never doubted, let me hear from you and 
often. I have written to you by every mail that has 
left this place, and surely some have been received. I 
wrote to you aboard the boat before arriving here. 
Mail, sometimes, arrives here in five days from New 

This place continues to be unusually healthy, and the 
only fear manifested is that disease may be propagated 
by the arrival of vessels and steamers from infected 
ports. At this time there is a vessel lying at quaran- 
tine with all hands aboard sick with fever of some de- 
scription,— several have died, and there is not one well 
enough to nurse the sick, — no volunteers from among 
the prisoners going to them, so the chances of life are 

I am now in the hospital. I have little or no labor 
to perform, but my fare is not much improved. My 
principal diet is coffee, butter and bread three times a 
day. We have had a mess or two of Irish potatoes and 
onions, but as a general thing vegetables don't last 
many days in this climate before decomposition takes 
place. Pork and beef are poisonous to me; and mo- 
lasses when I am able to buy it, and occasionally 
(fresh) fish, when Providence favored, are the only 
articles of diet used. I am enjoying very good health, 
considering the circumstances. 

Sweet, dearest Frank, write to me soon on the re- 
ceipt of my letter. I am afraid letters have been inter- 
cepted from either you or myself. If I don't hear 
from you soon, I am afraid I will become alike indif- 
ferent and careless. I have written to Jere, Ewing, 


Stone, Ma and Papa some several letters— others, one 
or two, and not one syllable have I received. 

I am afraid when the silence is broken, the news 
will be so great as to endanger the safety of the boat. 
My dear Frank, I have nothing to interest you — sev- 
eral hundred prisoners have been released and gone 
home recently to their families. 

My anxiety increases upon the arrival of every boat 
and mail, and I envy the departing homeward bound. 
Give my love to all — kiss the children and believe me, 
truly and sincerely, 

Your husband, 

S. A. MUDD. 

Shortly after receiving the following letter 
from General Ewing, my mother went to 
Washington to see the President. President 
Johnson told her that if Judge Holt would sign 
papers for my father's release, he (President 
Johnson) would. Then my mother left the 
White House for Judge Holt's office. There 
she told him what the President had said; his 
brow darkened, and he simply remarked, "Mrs. 
Mudd, I am sorry, I can do nothing for you." 

Washington, August 31, 1865. 
My dear Madam : 

I have received yours of the 28th instant, and next 
day one from the Doctor written in excellent spirits. 
He is doing a great deal better than he would have 
done at Albany, and is evidently bearing himself with 
Christian and manly fortitude. I will write him an 
encouraging letter, and will not neglect to seize the 
best occasion to attempt his release by legal means. 

I think the next time you are here you had better 


call to see Judge Holt, who has spoken to me twice of 
you highly, and asked about you and your children. 
I think you have made some impression on the old 
gentleman. In all these matters, his opinion will guide 
the action of the President. 

When Mr. and Mrs. Browning return from Illinois, 
which will be about the 20th of September, I will show 
him your letter. He feels a deep interest in the Doc- 
tor, and a conviction of his entire innocence. 

Do not worry too much. You and the Doctor are 
both young, and will yet live a long and happy life to- 

In haste, 

Sincerely your friend, 

Thomas Ewing, Jr. 

This letter is explained in that of August 
12toDr. J. H. Blandford: 

Washington City, September i, 1865. 
My dear Mrs. Mudd : 

About three weeks since I received a letter from Dr. 
J. H. Blandford requesting me to examine two letters 
from your husband to you, and determine whether it 
would be expedient to publish any portion of them. 

I replied to Dr. Blandford, telling him that I thought 
it would be inexpedient to publish anything at this 
time, and asking him to call at my office, when in town, 
and get your letters. I have since heard nothing from 

L,est my letter to him may not have reached its des- 
tination, I now write you. I have your letters, and will 
take care of them, subject to your order. 

I regret that I have no news for you, and hope that 


you are waiting the coming of a better day with forti- 
tude and patience. 
With great respect, 

Your true friend, 

R. T. Merrick. 

The following order was issued upon the in- 
formation contained in the letter of L. C. 
Baker, brigadier-general, dated August 17. 

Hd. Qrs. Dist. of Florida, 
2d Separate Brigade D. F., 
Tallahassee, Sept. 3, 1865. 
To The Comd'g. Officer, 
Sub. District of Key West. 

Sir : Official information has been received at these 
Headquarters from Washington that a plot exists to 
release the prisoners at Fort Jefferson. You will take 
the proper precautions to prevent any uprising of the 
prisoners, and in case you find this information to be 
correct take measures to ferret out the leaders and 
place them in irons. 

By command of Brig.-Gen. Newton, 

A. C. Pretz, 
ist Lt. and A. A. A. G. 

Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas, Florida, 

September 5, 1865. 
My dear Prank : 

A transport has just arrived and will take off at 
least a hundred prisoners, thereby thinning our ranks 
considerably. I am so credulous or hopeful as to ex- 
pect my release upon the arrival of eveiy steamer, and, 
not receiving, feel disappointed. 

I have received but one letter since being cast upon 
this desolate, barren isle, and that was from your lov- 


ing self, dated August 9. I have written between thirty 
and forty letters to various ones. I have written at 
least half a dozen to General Ewing, and Stone three 
or four. Jere and others as many each. I am truly 
anxious to know whether they intend to keep me here 
this Administration — I want to know the public opin- 

I have had several opportunities to make my escape, 
but knowing, or believing, it would show guilt, I have 
resolved to remain peaceable and quiet, and allow the 
Government the full exercise of its power, justice and 
clemency. Should I take French leave, it would 
amount to expatriation, which I don't feel disposed to 
do at present. 

When you write, do not fail to enlighten and ad- 
vise me upon all these points. I am with you, my dear 
Frank, whatever may be your resolve — my only de- 
sire for life is the assistance I may be capable of af- 
fording to you, our dear little ones, Pa, Ma and fam- 
ily. Were it not for these considerations, apart from 
the odium, I could remain here in contentment the bal- 
ance of my days. 

When you write, send me newspaper extracts or 
clippings that may be favorable or otherwise toward 
us, or to me. When you are reading over the papers, 
and see anything likely to interest, cut it out and en- 
close in your letters. At the same time, don't fail to 
mention all new developments that have arisen since 
our trial, whether any more arrests have been made, 
and all particulars concerning. 

I want to know whether Ewing is doing anything, 
and whether any other influence has been brought to 
bear. I feel considerable disappointment in not hear- 
ing from either Stone* or Ewing. I wrote to Ewing 

*Frederick Stone, one of my father's legal advisers, afterward 
a judge of the Court of Appeals of Maryland. 


at the same time I wrote to you on the boat bound to 
this abominable place. He could judge well, from 
that first letter, that I made no such admissions or con- 
fessions as reported by the various Northern newspa- 
per reports. I have lost all confidence in the veracity 
and honesty of the Northern people, and if I could 
honorably leave the country for a foreign land, I be- 
lieve our condition would be bettered. There was 
never before a more persistent effort to criminate and 
to blast one's character and fortune than was resorted 
to in my case. What could not be effected by fair 
means, was done by foul — and villainy, and all for the 
almighty dollar. I saw no love and no patriotism. 
Had these virtues existed, I should have had a re- 
ward (although not asked nor expected) instead of the 
treatment received. 

My dear Frank, I have nothing to mention worthy 
of interest. I am well in body. I am often cast down 
by depressing thoughts about you and all near and dear 
to me. I sometimes in my dreary walks look home- 
ward, and feel an involuntary gloom and despondency 
to come over me. The thought often arises, or the 
question is asked within myself, "Shall I ever see home 
again, or those fond ones left behind?" God alone 
knows and can answer. 

Good-by, my dearest Frank and all. Kiss the chil- 
dren and write soon and often, 

S. A. MUDD. 

My father unfortunately, on the 25th of Sep- 
tember, 1865, endeavored to effect his escape. 
He stated after his release that he intended, 
had his effort been successful, to reach some 
point where the writ of habeas corpus was in 
force, surrender himself to the proper authori- 


ties, and then have the writ sued out in his 
behalf. The disastrous result of his unsuccess- 
ful attempt i'B shown in the order and report 
that follow: 

Headquarters Port Jefferson, Fla., 

September 26, 1865. 
Captain H. A. Harris, 

8oth U. S. C. I., Pro. Mar. 

Capt: By direction of the Major Commanding, 
you will see that Dr. Sam'l A. Mudd is placed at "hard 
labor." Let him be detailed in the Engineer Dept. to 
wheel sand. And hereafter, when any boat arrives, 
he will be put in the dungeon and kept there until it 
departs, and in future no favors of any kind will be 
shown him. 

Very respectfully, your obdt. servt, 

H. S. Manning, 
2nd Lieut Both U. S. C. I., Post Adj't. 

Headquarters Fort Jefferson, Fla., 
September 27th, 1865. 
Captain E. C. Woodruff, 

Actg. Ass't. Adj't Gen'l. 
Dep't. of Florida. 

Sir, I have the honor to report, that, on the 25th 
ins't. Dr. Samuel A. Mudd, one of the Conspirators, 
sentenced to this place for life, made an attempt to 

Since he has been in confinement here, he has been 
employed in the Prison Hospital, as Nurse and Act- 
ing Steward. When he came here, it was noticed that 
he immediately adopted the same clothing as worn by 
other prisoners. Although he had good clothes of 
his own. On the day he attempted to escape he put 


on one of the suits he brought with him and in some 
way got outside the Fort to the Wharf, where the U. 
S. Transport, Thos. A. Scott, was lying. He went on 
board that boat and, (with the assistance rendered 
him by one of the Crew, Henry Kelly), secreted him- 
self under some plank in the lower hold. After a 
short search he was found and I put him in irons, into 
one of the dungeons. I also ordered the arrest of the 
man Kelly, and put him in close confinement. 

Dr. Mudd's statement is that Kelly promised to as- 
sist him but had not done so. While Kelly denies 
knowing him or ever having seen him. Enclosed T 
forward the deposition of Jas. Healy, Coal passer on 
the steamer, which clearly proves that Kelly has told 
a falsehood. He has the appearance of being a hard 
case, and his reputation on the boat was bad. 
I am very respectfully 
Your obedient serv't., 

Geo. E. Wentworth, 
Major 82nd U. S. C. Inf'ty., 
Commandingf Post. 


The above is a literal copy. 



Letter from my father to his brother-in-law, 
Mr. Jere Dyer: 

Fort Jefferson, Tortugas Island, Fla., 

September 30, 1865. 
My dear Jere : 

I wrote to you and Frank by the last steamer, but at 
the same time intended to arrive before it. Provi- 
dence was against me. I was too well known and 
was apprehended five or ten minutes after being 
aboard the steamer. They were so much rejoiced at 
finding me, they did not care to look much farther; 
the consequence was, the boat went off and carried 
away four other prisoners, who no doubt will make 
good their escape. I suppose this attempt of mine to 
escape will furnish the dealers in newspapers matter 
for comment, and a renewal of the calumnious charges 
against me. Could the world know to what a de- 
graded condition the prisoners of this place have been 
reduced recently, they, instead of censure, would give 
me credit for making the attempt. This place is now 
wholly guarded by negro troops with the exception 
of a few white officers. I was told by members of the 
i6ist N. Y. V. Reg., that so soon as they departed, 
the prisoners would be denied many of their former 
privileges, and life would be very insecure in their 
hands. This has already proved true; a parcel of 
new rules and regulations have already been made and 


are being enforced, which sensibly decreases our 
former Hberties. 

For attempting to make my escape, I was put in the 
guard-house, with chains on hands and feet, and 
closely confined for two days. An order then came 
from the Major for me to be put to hard labor, wheel- 
ing sand. I was placed under a boss, who put me to 
cleaning old bricks. I worked hard all day, and came 
very near finishing one brick. The order also directs 
the Provost Marshal to have me closely confined on 
the arrival of every steamer and until she departs. I 
know not how long this state of things will continue. 
I have arrived at that state of mind at which I feel 
indifferent to what treatment I am subjected. The 
i6ist N. Y. Reg. were very kind and generous to me, 
and I was as much induced by them to make the at- 
tempt to take French leave as my own inclination and 
judgment dictated. I am now thrown out of my 
former position, chief of dispensary, and not likely 
to be reinstated. I know not what degree of degrada- 
tion they may have in store for me. I was forced, 
under the penalty of being shot, to inform on one of 
the crew who promised to secrete me aboard. They 
have him still in close confinement, and will likely try 
him before court martial for the offense. I have 
written a note to the Major and have seen the Pro- 
vost Marshal, and have taken upon myself the whole 
blame and responsibility of the affair, yet they pay 
little or no attention, and the young fellow is still kept 
in close confinement. 

I don't regret the loss of my position. Take away 
the honor attached, the labor was more confining than 
any other place or avocation on the island. At the 
same time it relieved me of the disagreeable necessity 
of witnessing men starve for the nutriment essential 
for a sick man, when it could be had with no trouble 


and but a little expense. Four prisoners have died 
during the short time I have been here; the last one 
died the morning I made my attempt to escape. Not 
a single soldier or citizen laborer has died or suffered 
with any serious sickness; thereby showing some- 
thing wrong, something unfair, and a distinction 
made between the two classes of individuals. Every 
case of acute dysentery or diarrhea among the prison- 
ers, either dies in the onset or lingers on and terminates 
in the chronic, which eventually kills. 

We have a disease here which is termed bone fever, 
or mild yellow fever, which has attacked at least three- 
fourths of the inmates of the Fort. It lasts generally 
but two or three days ; during the time, the patient im- 
agines every bone will break from the enormous pain 
he suffers in his limbs. None has died with it. 

I have not been a day sick or unwell, owing no doubt 
to the fact of my thoughts being concentrated upon 
home, my dear Frank, and the children. Little did I 
think I would ever become the veriest slave and lose 
the control of my own actions, but such, unfortunately, 
is too true, and God, I suppose, only knows whether 
these misfortunes will terminate with my frail exist- 
ence, or that after being broken down with cares and 
afflictions of every kind, I be returned to my family a 
burden, more than a help and consoler. My only hope 
now is with you and the influence you can bring to 
bear. To be relieved from my present situation, I 
would be willing to live in poverty the balance of my 
days with Heaven my only hope of reward. If money 
be necessary, sell everything that I possess, and what 
might be allotted by poor Papa from his already ex- 
hausted means. 

I feel that I am able now, and have resolution to 
make a decent living in any section of the world in 


which I am thrown by the Grace and Providence of 
the Almighty. 

It strikes me that the Hon. Reverdy Johnson, Mont- 
gomery Blair, and many others whose principles and 
opinions are growing daily more popular — their in- 
fluence could be easily brought to bear in my behalf. 
You fail to give me any idea of what was being done 
or any reasons for me to hope for relief by any cer- 
tain time. You may have omitted this for prudential 
reasons. I have been too careless in my language 
among the evil disposed. They have never failed to 
misinterpret my language and meaning, and to omit 
everything having a tendency to exonerate me. 

Knowing this, I shall be the keeper or guardian of 
my own thoughts and words for the future. I never 
knew how corrupt the world was before being visited 
by my recent calamities and troubles. They have 
shamefully lied and detracted everything I have said 
or done — a privilege for the future they shall never 

No doubt they will get up a great sensation in re- 
gard to my attempted escape. Some thirty or forty 
have made their escape, or attempts to do so, since I 
have been here, and there never was anything thought 
of them. Since my unlucky attempt, everything seems 
to have been put in commotion, and most unfounded 
suspicions, rumors, etc., started. 

My only object for leaving at the time I attempted, 
was to avoid the greater degradation, and insecurity 
of life, and at the same time be united again with my 
precious little family. I don't perceive why there is 
so much odium attached, as the authorities, by their 
harsh and cruel treatment, endeavor to make believe. 

I will soon be returned to some duty more com- 
patible with my qualifications. In the mean time, as- 
sure Frank and all that I am well and hearty, and as 


determined as ever. Write soon. Give my unbounded 
love to all at home, and believe me most truly and de- 
votedly, Yours, etc., 

S. A. MUDD. 

Oct. 1st. — I am constrained before mailing this, to 
acquaint you with the following: The young man 
Kelly, and Smith who was locked up with him, and 
bound with chains and thrown in a place they denomi- 
nate the dungeon, on my account, freed themselves 
from their chains, broke out the iron-grated window, 
let themselves down frorp the window by the chains 
with which they were bound, stole a boat, and made 
good their escape last night. 

Smith was one of the most outrageous thieves that 
ever walked. You would marvel to hear him tell of 
his wonderful feats and thefts. Kelly promised to 
secrete me aboard the steamer, and to save my life. I 
was necessitated to inform on him. He was brought 
to the same room in which I was locked. He excused 
me, and said that the Commandant was a fool to think 
that they could hold him upon this island, which has 
proved too true. The authorities are no doubt much 
disappointed and chagrined at this unexpected occu'- 
rence. I feel much relieved. 

Yours as ever, etc., 


Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas, Fla., 

October 5, 1865. 

My dear Jere : 

A vessel is about leaving port. I take advantage of 
it to drop you a few hasty lines. I forgot to mention, 
in the letters previously written, to inform you that 
none of the drafts, that I drew upon you, will be pre- 


sented for payment. I was fortunate in being able to 
borrow twenty-five dollars; the check, so soon as I 
can obtain the money, will go to liquidate it. I shall 
endeavor to be as economical as possible, knowing to 
what straits my family has been already reduced. The 
only need I have for money is to purchase a few 
vegetables, and supply myself with tobacco. The only 
article of clothing I need is shirts. The Government 
furnishes flannel shirts, which I find very pleasant in 
damp weather, but very disagreeable and warm in dry 

If the friends of Arnold and O'Laughlin should send 
a box of clothing to them, you may put in a couple of 
brown linen, or check linen, shirts and a couple pairs 
cotton drawers. You may not bother yourself to this 
extent if you anticipate an early release. My clothing 
is sufficient to come home in. I will need no more 
money before the first of December, or latter part of 
November. It generally takes a letter ten or twelve 
days to reach this place, so anticipate the period, and 
send me twenty-five dollars in greenbacks. Address 
your letters to me, and not in care of any one, and I will 
get them without fail. Write me soon and let me know 
whether my attempted escape caused much comment in 
the Northern papers. I fear it will have the effect to 
again agitate the question. I had written so often and 
desired information and council, that I became truly im- 
patient and vexed. I expected to hear something from 
Ewing or Stone, but not a word have I received from 
either. I received a letter a few days ago which ga /e 
me more consolation and hope than any yet come to 
hand, from Henry.* Had I received such a letter 
earlier I would have been content, and would never 
have acted as I did. I would have succeeded, only for 
meeting a party aboard, who knew me, before I could 

*His brother. 


arrive at my hiding-place. I was informed on almost 
immediately, and was taken in custody by the guard. 
I regret only one thing, being necessitated to inform 
on the party who had promised to befriend me. It 
was all done by the mere slip of the tongue, and with- 
out reflection ; but perhaps it was all providential. He 
is now free, having made good his escape with a 
notorious thief with whom he was locked up. I under- 
stand, after escaping from the dungeon, in which they 
were confined, they robbed the sutler of fifty dollars 
in money, as much clothing as they needed, and a 
plenty of eatables in the way of canned fruits, pre- 
serves, meats, etc. Six prisoners made good their 
escape on the same boat upon which I was so tmfor- 
tunate. It seems they were too much elated to look 
farther after my apprehension. 

I am taking my present hardship as a joke. I am 
not put back in the least. I will soon assume my 
former position, or one equally respectable. The only 
thing connected with my present attitude is the name, 
and not the reality. I have no labor to perform, yet I 
am compelled to answer roll-call, and to sleep in the 
guard-house at night. This will not last longer than 
this week. Write soon, give me all the news, and 
continue to send me papers. I have received several 
from you, Frank, and some have been sent from New 
York by unknown parties, which afforded me consid- 
erable recreation. Give my love to all at home, and 
send this, after reading, to Frank, so that she may 
know that I am well, etc. I am sorry Tom is going 
to leave so early. I am under the greatest obligations 
to him for interest and kindness manifested. I am in 
hopes my release won't be long deferred, when I shall 
be able to see you all. 

Samuel Mxjdd. 


The following pointed and manly letter from 
Hon. Charles A. Eldi-edge, Representative in 
Congress from the Fourth Congressional Dis- 
trict of Wisconsin, to Judge-Advocate Holt, 
speaks for itself: 

[From the Ohio Crisis, October ii, 1865.] 

Fond du Lac, September 25, 1865. 
Judge-Advocate-General Holt. 

My Dear Sir: The folowing circular letter ad- 
dressed to me has been duly received, to wit : 

"War Department, 
"Bureau op Miwtary Justice, 
"Washington, September 12, 1865. 
"By direction of the Secretary of War a number of 
copies of the argument of Hon. John A. Bingham in 
the case of the assassin conspirators, and also a number 
of copies of the opinion of Attorney-General Speed, 
are sent enclosed in envelopes to you, in order that 
they may be well distributed throughout your district. 
It is especially desirable that the legal profession 
should be furnished with the information which these 
documents contain. 

"J. HolT, Advocate-General." 

The copies of the argument and opinion which you 
desire "may be well distributed" in my district, are 
also received. The importance of it to yourself and 
the Secretary of War may or may not justify the large 
expense consequent upon the publication and distribu- 
tion. The people of my district will not, I presume, 
mind the expense in these times of light taxation. 
But I trust you will pardon me the suggestion that 


black and horrible as is the crime in the consideration 
of all good men, of the assassination of President Lin- 
coln, neither the blackness of that crime nor the argu- 
ments and opinions of those learned gentlemen, will 
prevent my constituents, and when the history thereof 
comes to be written, posterity generally, from brand- 
ing military trials of civilians as infamous violations 
of the Constitution and laws. 

Do not, I pray you, flatter yourself that you and the 
Secretary of War can, by the circulation of these docu- 
ments at your own or the people's expense, convince 
your countrymen that arrests without warrant, impris- 
onment without trial, sentences without conviction, 
trial without indictment or jury, and the worse than 
mockery of your victims in military trials, are any- 
thing but crimes — gross outrages of the people's rights 
and liberties, and violations of the people's Constitu- 
tion. Respectfully, 

Charles A. Ei/DRSdge. 

The documents forwarded Mr. Eldredge for 
distribution, intended as a defense of military 
commissions for the trial of citizens, were 
printed at the expense of the people, and were 
forwarded by mail free of postage. 

Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas, Florida, 

October i8, 1865. 
My dearest Frank : 

You will no doubt, ere this reaches you, see some 
mention in the newspapers of my effort to get away. 
I learn from a friend a pretty lengthy account has been 
sent on for publication. My dear Frank, it is bad 
enough to be a prisoner in the hands of white men, 
your equals imder the Constitution, but to be lorded 


over by a set of ignorant, prejudiced and irresponsible 
beings of the unbleached humanity, was more than I 
could submit to, when I had every reason to believe my 
chances of escape almost certain, and would be 
crowned with success. Connected with this inspiring 
hope, and an early union with you and our precious 
little children, the higher-minded and unprejudiced 
mind would rather give me credit than blame for the 
attempt. Why should I be expected to act more hon- 
orable than my persecutors, who sent me here ? Have 
they not, from the beginning to the present, endeav- 
ored to degrade and humiliate by previously unknown 
and unheard of tortures and cruelties even in an un- 
civilized community, to lower us, the victims of injus- 
tice, beneath the dignity of the brute creation ? 

My darling wife, when I am capable of beholding 
with a serene eye the mild and beneficent sway of the 
Fathers of the Republic, and the former prestige of 
the American Flag, the shield, the protection of the 
citizen, be he at home or in a foreign land, vindicated, 
then I shall calmly and patiently submit. I am 
resolved henceforth to yield my opinion, and bear up 
against all the indignities and hardships they can heap 
upon me, to the better judgment of my advisers, to 
God, and the justice of my cause. 

You need have no further apprehension regarding 
my conduct. I have not had a cross word with an 
individual, soldier or prisoner, since I have been 
closeted upon this island of woe and misery. I have 
striven to the utmost of my ability to render myself 
and those around me comfortable, visiting the sick, 
and saving my scanty means to the last dime. So for 
the future, make yourself easy, and rest assured that I 
will be guilty of no act that will ever have the tendency 
to compromise my cause. I think hard of my law- 
yers ; they know how ignorant I am of law, and they 


should have extended all the necessary advice and 
counsel, which I repeatedly asked for. No mortal 
mind can appreciate the feelings of one who has been 
so foully dealt with, and separated suddenly and vio- 
lently from family and all near and dear, and banished 
hundreds of miles away, — no opportunities afforded of 
being visited, and but imperfect and irregular mail 
facilities, for no fault, and for having done my duty 
to God and man. To bear patiently under such cir- 
cumstances requires more than human strength. I 
trust my present good resolutions will be supported by 
grace from above, through the prayerful mediation of 
you and all. 

I fear, my dear Frank, you may be in need of 
money, etc. I enclose in this some medical bills. Try 
to collect them. You may think and say, "What is 
the use of all this, Sam will be home time enough to 
attend to it himself," but take my advice, and do not 
rely too much on hopes. Make sure of this means; 
pay off hirelings, and purchase all necessary family 
supplies for yourself and children. Make provision 
always for a more unpropitious day. The time may 
be close at hand when you may be reduced to an even 
worse condition than at present. I perceive a betrayal 
of your anticipations and hopes by the kind offer to 
send me clothing, money and other articles. If my 
release is to be so speedy, there will be no necessity for 
them. I can come home in anything. I have learned 
to disregard the mocks and jeers of this cold and un- 
charitable world. If it was no fault of my own, I 
would take a delight in walking the streets of New 
York on my way home on my knees; but if Provi- 
dence favors me with a speedy release, I will return 
by way of New Orleans and through the South. 

On the 1 2th, three more prisoners made good their 
escape, taking a boat just from under the eyes of the 


guard in open daylight, about 12 o'clock, and suc- 
ceeded in getting some eight or nine miles before the 
loss of the boat was discovered, when they observed 
it was useless to pursue. These cases never will be 
known to the public ; but cases in which party interests 
are involved, will find no opportunity of escaping. 

Since my effort to get away, eleven have made 
good their escape, all of whom were sentenced for a 
long period of years. Do not view my act with dis- 
honor. I am a prisoner under guard, not under a 
parole, and under no obligations to remain if I can 
successfully evade and free myself. You will, when 
you write, inform me whether the act has, or will have, 
any injurious tendency, also send me the comments 
of the press, should there be any. When you see any 
article in the papers to which you wish to direct my 
attention, mark it around with a lead pencil or pen. 
You may rely upon my remaining perfectly quiet and 
content, until I receive a hint from you to act to the 
contrary. I am for the shortest road home, no matter 
how difficult. My letters for the future will not be 
so lengthy. I will write every opportunity, but we 
fear, owing to a recent change in the government of 
the Post, will be denied many of our former privileges. 

Arnold was clerk in the Provost Marshal's office, 
and without any cause assigned, has been ordered to 
hard labor. We will endeavor to deport ourselves as 
always, as true gentlemen and as men conscious of 
innocence, and of the gross wrongs and injuries 
inflicted. Be assured and satisfied that the ills we 
now suffer proceed from no act of mine, or ours. I 
am compelled to sleep now in the guard-house, but I 
am presumed to be doing hard work. It is of little 
importance as regards labor. Those assigned to 
active duty are generally the healthiest, which is more 
than a compensation for the change. 


My heart almost bleeds sometimes when I think of 
you and our dear little children, and the many pleasant 
hours we used to aijoy together. I feel they will be 
too large for me to handle when I shall be a free man 
again, and be able to return to you. My love and 
devotion appears to increase with every day. With • 
the change from the white to the colored regiment, 
many of our former privileges have been denied ; yet 
we are determined not to give them the least cause to 
complain, and for the future I am determined not to 
leave or make an attempt without the proper authority. 
I would not have thought of such a thing, were it not 
for a change in the government of the Post. 

Give my love to all. Ma, Pa, and all the family, and 
tell them to write. I am consoled by every letter. I 
don't wish you to write anything that may have a 
tendency (if made public) to be detrimental to my 

cause. Letters are no doubt read by for that 

purpose, and notes taken of them, and then suffered to 
proceed. The last letter I received, was dated Septem- 
ber 22, and mailed from Baltimore October 8. Exer- 
cise prudence. I don't expect you will be able to do 
much until after the trial of Wintz, Davis & Co. 

Good-by, my sweet, precious wife and dear little 
ones. God bless you all. 

Yours, etc., 

S. M. 

Fort Jefferson, Tortugas, Florida, 

October 23, 1865. 
My dearest Wife : 

I wrote you on the loth and nth. Since then 
orders have been promulgated to look into all corres- 
pondence leaving the Post, as well as those arriving, 
so for the future you need not trouble yourself to be 
lengthy or make public your domestic affairs. I am 


very well, although at present confined to a small damp 
room with Arnold, O'Loughlin, Spangler, and a 
Colonel Grenfel, formerly an English Officer, but 
recently of the Confederate Army. What has led to 
this treatment, we are at a loss to account. We have 
all deported ourselves as gentlemen, and as Christians. 
Do not let this trouble you, I have already borne worse, 
and I am in hopes, through the mercies of God, to live 
through these hardships and be a consolation to you 
and my dear little family. We are now guarded by a 
negro regiment. Good-by. Pray for me, and give 
my love to all. 

Your devoted husband, 

SamuEi. Mudd. 

E'' ■■ 

The following letter from my uncle, Mr. 
Jere Dyer, to my mother, gives some idea of 
the efforts that were being made to secure my 
father's release: 

Baltimore, November 6, 1865. 
Dear Frank: 

Your truly welcome letter did not reach me until 
this morning, and ex-Governor Ford of Ohio did not 
leave here until Wednesday. He promised to call to 
see me before leaving, but failed to do so. He sent 
a gentleman to see me to apologize for not calling, and 
also to tell me he met with every success. He had 
several interviews with Webster, who was in Congress 
last winter, but is now Collector of this port, having 
recently been appointed by the President, and he is 
decidedly in favor of his release. He has promised 
the Governor his influence, and also told his messenger 
that everything was working to his entire satisfaction, 
and he was quite sanguine of success. God grant it; 


but still, my dear child, be not too sanguine, for you 
know everything in this Hfe is very uncertain. We, 
too, have our part to perform, namely : send our peti- 
tions to Him who is mightier than man. He may not 
at first hear us as speedily as we wish, but He has 
promised that whatever we ask in His name, will be 
granted. He will not refuse much longer, and will 
soon return him to you. 

I am sorry to hear you have another case of typhoid 
fever. It seems indeed you have your full share of 
trouble; but, my child, you must try and be patient, 
and bear them with Christian resignation, and God 
will send you your reward. 

Poor Cousin Henry — ^it seems fate is bearing hard 
on him. How I pity him. He has never known 
trouble before. Providence truly smiled on him in his 
younger days, and it does seem hard he should have so 
many troubles now he is old. 

I mailed you Sam's letters last Tuesday. You did 
not mention having received them. I judge you have 
not sent to the office. I find they are keeping a pretty 
close guard over them, but I am satisfied it will not 
last very long. I suppose they only wanted to try and 
make him say or do something for them to publish, 
and try and keep up some excitement against him, but 
I know he has learned by sad experience to be too 
much on his guard to give them any further excuse 
for their villainy and rascality. 

I am going to R. I. Brent's office this evening to 
show him Sam's letters. He is very anxious to see 
them. Although he is a copper-head, he is a big man, 
and a warm friend. 

Frank, I am always at work whenever there is the 
slightest chance of doing anything. I try to keep him 
before all the big men, and make them talk about his 
case. You know every opinion has its weight, so you 


must be hopeful, not too sanguine as to any particular 
time. My own opinion is, from all I can gather, we 
may reasonably expect him home between this and the 
first of January. I wrote him a very long letter and 
mailed it two days before your last one, in which I 
told him I hoped to see him at the foot of his table on 
Christmas Day carving that big old gobbler. 

Well, I have not had a frolic for a long time, and 
if it is the will of Heaven it should be so, I hardly 
think my Heavenly Father would do anything with 
me for taking two glasses of egg-nog. Do you ? Love 
to all. Your brother, 




Fort Jefferson, Tortugas Island, Florida, 

November ii, 1865. 
My dear Jere : 

Yesterday, the loth, four companies of heavy 
artillery arrived to relieve the detested and abominable 
negro regiment, and I am in hopes our future treat- 
ment will be much milder. It can't be worse. We 
were placed, without any cause whatever, in heavy 
leg irons on the 5th of November, marched down to 
headquarters, then placed under a boss at hard labor 
cleaning old brick. A tug arrived that day, and it 
was no doubt to please the crew's gross fancy and ex- 
hibit the Major's power, that the cruel act was resorted 
to. We had been closely confined under guard for 
more than a fortnight previously. Notwithstanding 
living in irons, we are closely guarded and not suffered 
to leave the door for the most trivial thing without 
having a negro guard with musket and bayonet by our 
side. At night, our chains are taken off, the door 
locked, and a sentry placed there on guard. This 
treatment was not brought about by any fear of escape, 
or the apprehension of any violence on our part, but 
is no doubt done to degrade and lessen us in the esti- 
mation of our fellow-prisoners and citizens, and to 
keep down the apparent sympathy of strange arrivals, 
of which every boat brings many. 

I received a letter from you and Fanny* on the 7th, 

* My father's sister. 


and was much rejoiced to know that your hopes of 
release were so lively. God grant that your efforts 
may succeed, and I be delivered from this hell upon 
earth. Fannie was telling me what papa was doing, 
which I thought was very improper, knowing that any 
imprudence is subjected to the inspection of officious 
officers, who are disposed to place their own wicked 
construction wherever their personal gain or ambition 
is likely to be profited. I am afraid papa will find him- 
self in the end the victim of imposition of some of these 
hostile intermeddlers, although mercy grant the con- 
trary. I have had enough of the humanity and Chris- 
tian spirit that animates the hand of the saints, to cause 
me to remember them, and it is but natural I should 
desire that they should be visited by the same degree of 
chastisement which they have and are still inflicting 
upon their fellow-countrymen through motives of 
patriotism and vindication of the honor and supremacy 
of the Republic. Every day increases my hate toward 
the authors of my ruin, and sometimes I can scarcely 
withhold my angry indignation. The near approach 
of expected relief I am in hopes will keep me within 
bounds. Should you be so fortunate as to effect my 
release, lose no time in forwarding the joyous intelli- 
gence. Telegraph it to Tom, and tell him to notify 
me from New Orleans ; also write to Henry Benners, 
postmaster of this place. You can enclose a letter to 
his address for me, observing due precautions. I sent 
you what might be a copy of a letter to Secretary 
Stanton. I did not write, but scribbled it off so that 
you and counsel could advise regarding. You can 
omit and supply as you think the case may require. 
We are all at this moment in chains. Neither Colonel 
Grenfel nor myself has been taken out to work the 
past two or three days, but suffered to remain passively 
in our quarters. He is quite an intelligent man, tall, 


straight, and about sixty-one or two years of age. 
He speaks fluently several languages, and often adds 
mirth by his witty sarcasm and jest. He has been 
badly wounded and is now suffering with dropsy, and 
is allowed no medical treatment whatever, but loaded 
down with chains, and fed upon the most loathsome 
food, which treatment in a short time must bring him 
to an untimely grave. You will confer an act of kind- 
ness and mercy by acquainting the English Minister at 
Washington, Sir F. A. Bruce, of these facts. 

Your brother, 


Application was made on November 20, 
1865, by my uncle, Thomas O. Dyer, of New- 
Orleans, to Major-General Sheridan, com- 
manding the Division of the Gulf, for permis- 
sion to forward to my father certain articles of 
clothing and luxury. This permission was 
granted, as will appear by a copy of the order 
which follows. Up to this time the articles 
sent my father by his friends had almost in- 
variably failed to reach him; and even after- 
ward many articles, and even sums of money, 
sent him seem to have been "confiscated." 

Headquarters Military Division of the Gulf, 

Office Provost-Marshal General. 
New Orleans, November 20, 1865. 
Permission is hereby granted to T. O. Dyer to 
forward this invoice of goods to Samuel A. Mudd, 
confined at Fort Jefferson, Florida, care of command- 
ing officer there, who will deliver same at his discre- 
tion. Q. M. Dept. will furnish transportation. 
By command of Maj.-Gen. Sheridan, 
F. T. Shbrman^ 
Brig. Gen'l & P. M. G. 


The articles, an invoice of which had been 
furnished to General Sheridan, were duly sent, 
and all were received by my father except "2 
bottles Bordu Whiskey." These were never- 
more heard of. Whether they were cast over- 
board in transmission, or were intercepted and 
the contents consumed by some bibulous indi- 
vidual to whom opportunity offered tempta- 
tion, will perhaps never be known. 

Fort Jefferson, November 25, 1865. 
My dearest Wife : 

I am as well as circumstances permit. Give my 
love to all, Pa, Ma, and the family. Tell the children 
they must be good, learn their lessons, and pray for 
their disconsolate papa. I am afraid to write more, 
lest objection be made; and believe me, my dear 
Frank, your most faithful and devoted husband, con- 
fiding in the infinite goodness and mercy of God and 
the prayerful intercession of many friends, I am in 
hopes of a speedy release and return to you. 

A mail has arrived. The letters and papers have 
not been distributed, consequently I do not know 
whether there is anything for me or not. Kiss all the 
children, etc. Yours, 


Dry Tortugas, Fla., December g, 1865. 
My dear Jere : 

I received your last, dated November 7, 1865, which 
I assure you has raised my spirits above description. 
Let me hear from you all, not contraband, at your 
earliest opportunity. 

I received a trunk from dear Tom on the 3d of 
December, invoiced as containing a quantity of fine 


clothes, several cans of vegetables, fish, whiskey, etc. 
The whiskey was not received. I wrote to him 
acknowledging the receipt. He may not get it, so 
when you write, inform him. 

The negro regiment has been only partially relieved 
by white troops. Our condition is not much better. 
We are still in irons, compelled to wash down six 
bastions of the Fort daily, closely guarded, denied all 
intercourse with other prisoners, locked up at night, 
and a sentry placed at the door; Our fare is some- 
thing better, and we are allowed to purchase articles 
of food, etc. I also received twenty-five dollars from 
Tom. This was placed in the hands of the com- 
mander, not to my credit. We are only allowed three 
dollars per month. I assure you no reasonable cause 
can be alleged for our present rash and inhuman treat- 
ment other than my attempted escape. 

I thought I had paid the penalty of my offense when 
we were paid a visit by Generals Newton and Forsyth, 
and we are informed' by the negro Commandant that it 
was through their order we were placed in irons. 
Newton commands this department. God bless him 
and his tribe! 

I am well and in hopes of a speedy release from my 
chains. Good-by, my dearest, brother and friend. 
Give my love to all and kiss Frank and the children 
for me;. You need not send me any more money. I 
will call upon you when I need it. I have enough to 
bring me home. This note is written far under- 
ground. Your brother, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, December 12, 1865. 
My darling Frank : 
I received last night yourg gf the SOth of November, 


which relieved me of many apprehensions regarding 
you and our little ones. 

I assure you last week has been the most miserable 
of my imprisonment, on account of the gloom which 
came over me in consequence of your failing to write 
at the appointed time. You said nothing in your 
letter about your previous sickness or indisposition. 
I, therefore, conclude you have fully recovered. I 
am truly pleased to see you so hopeful of my speedy 
release. I can see nothing cheering in what you have 
communicated, but it may be owing to my want of 
understanding. It is my impression this flimsy pre- 
tense is resorted to to keep up a show of doing some- 
thing, when in reality nothing is intended to be accom- 
plished. I am pleased to know that you are satisfied ; 
as for myself, nothing short of removal from this 
place can create an impression of fair dealing on the 
part of those in authority. 

I am sorry to hear of the death of George Garrico 
and Mr. Bean. Our white population is wonderfully 
diminishing by death and other causes. The negroes 
will soon be in the majority, if not already. Should 
I be released any time shortly, and circumstances per- 
mit, I will use all my endeavors to find a more con- 
genial locality. I wrote to you on the 7th, also on the 
1st, which I am in hopes you shall have received before 
this. I sent you on the 7th a couple of large moss- 
cards, and to-day send you three more, having nothing 
more suitable at hand. I have some small shell frames 
for pictures, but cannot send them conveniently by 
mail. I will try to send them by the next mail if I can 
arrange a safe box, etc. I was in hopes I would have 
the pleasure of bringing in person these little curiosi- 
ties, but fate has decreed otherwise. 

Don't bother yourself in regard to my wants; they 
are all plentifully supplied at this time. I have plenty 


of money for all my wants, clothing sufficient to last 
me a year or more. 

I am well with the exception of a pretty bad cold, 
and occasional rheumatic attacks. Give my love to 
Pa, Ma, and all the family. 


Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas, December 14, 1865. 
My darling Wife : 

I have received no intelligence from you since the 
letter dated November 7. In that I was led to hope 
for a speedy reunion. I fear you have been misled 
and caused cruel disappointment to visit me in this 
ungodly place ; a new pang to my sufferings. 

We have not been visited by a priest up to this time. 
There is no minister of any denomination here, and 
no religious observation of Sunday or holidays. 

The colored regiment has only been partially 
relieved. Our fare has much improved since I last 
wrote, though treatment is the same. 

I received a trunk of clothing, cans of vegetables, 
tobacco and twenty-five dollars from dear Tom on the 
3d instant. The clothing is finer than I need, besides 
I am not situated to wear them. You will please ex- 
press my thanks and gratitude to Tom when you again 

Did you deliver the message to Fannie I requested 
in a former letter, viz : to be more prudent in her 
writing? The last letter that arrived was not handed 
me on account of insulting language. She must have 
been aware that all correspondence is inspected pre- 
vious to the delivery to prisoners, and language preju- 
dicial to me or herself would be observed, and likely 
noted. Do caution her for the future, and allow noth- 
ing in your power to prevent, to be said or done having 


a tendency to prolong my misery. I have arrived at 
that point to which I would accept any terms for an 
immediate release, — even death I crave to a much 
longer protraction. So, my darling, try and prevent 
all language that is not likely to accomplish anything 
toward my relief. Spare no effort in endeavoring to 
bring before the Executive my entire innocence. You 
know well, my darling, could the truth be established, I 
should receive the thanks and. applause of the nation 
instead of this cruel and unjust treatment. 

My dear little Tommy continues still unwell; alas! 
I fear I shall not be home in time to render him any 
benefit. I am in hopes I shall be spared this afflic- 
tion — the loss of one of our dear little children — by a 
merciful Providence. What I have already under- 
gone is beyond my power of expressing, and nothing 
but the consciousness of having done no wrong, but 
a duty, causes me to bear up against my adverse for- 
tune. Written in haste. Write soon. My heart 
yearns to see you, and the dear little ones. 

Good-by, my darling wife, my hope and comfort. 
Your husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas, Florida, 

December 20, 1865. 
My darling Frank: 

I am well, things are "in statu quo." The weather 
is very warm — mosquitoes and bed-bugs very numer- 
ous and troublesome; coupled with this, I feel much 
disappointed at not being able to enjoy my Christmas 
dinner at home, as I have been led to hope. 

I have received no letters since yours of the 27th of 
November and December 5th. Since then I have 
written — this the third letter to you and one to Fannie. 
I have received no letter from you containing money. 


and for the future you need not bother yourself to 
send me anything, only as I may desire. You and 
our dear Httle children will require every dime to sus- 
tain you, and no doubt even then will suffer many 
privations and hardships. When you write, let me 
know whether you have succeeded in hiring any field 
hands or a cook for another year. Do all you can to 
avoid being an incumbrance to others, at the same 
time be careful to prevent actual want to self and our 
sweet little children — ^this thought occasions me more 
anxiety and suffering than any other. A steamer is 
coming in — I will await the mail before concluding. 
The steamer has landed, but brought no mail. How 
anxious I was that it would bring me the glad tidings 
of release; but I fear the Almighty thinks it would 
occasion me too much joy. 

My darling Frank, when I read the papers that I 
now and then receive I can see nothing to inspire me 
with hope regarding myself, or the restoration of 
peace and good feeling throughout the States. How 
much I desire the States to assume their proper rela- 
tion in the Union ! Should I be released at this time 
I would be very much bothered to find a place where 
we could rest happy and content upon the habitable 
globe — so demoralized have become the people and 
insecure life, liberty, and prosperity. Nothing is re- 
liable in these times, and God only knows when I shall 
be suffered to return to you. I will likely be detained 
longer than you anticipate, to keep up the appearance 
of justice, or until excitement and agitation is 
allayed — so, my dearest, do all you can; let not the 
cares, which now press heavily upon you, lead you to 
unnecessarily expose your health and strength — con- 
sider the welfare of our dear little children and my 
happiness, should Providence speedily favor me. 
I am sorry I have nothing entertaining and inter- 


esting to relate — such would be a contradiction to this 
place of woe. 

Your devoted husband, 


The following is a copy of a letter written by 
my mother to President Johnson: 

Bryantown, Md., December 22, 1865. 
His Excellency, Andrew Johnson, 
President of The United States. 
Dear Sir: I hesitate to address you, but love is 
stronger than fear, timidity must yield. I must peti- 
tion for him who is very, very dear to me. Mr. Presi- 
dent, after many weeks anxious waiting for news from 
my innocent, suffering husband, Dr. Samuel Mudd, 
last night's mail brought the sad tidings, he with 
others, by orders from the War Department, were 
heavily ironed, and obliged to perform hard work. 
The plea for this cruel treatment is, that the Govern- 
ment is in possession of news of a plot, originating in 
Havana or New Orleans, for the rescue of the said 
prisoners. The food furnished is of such miserable 
quality, he finds it impossible to eat it. Health and 
strength are failing. To my poor intellect, it seems 
an ineffectual plan to put down a plot by avenging 
upon the prisoners the acts of others. I suppose Sec- 
retary Stanton knows better. It strikes me very 
forcibly, your Excellency is ignorant of this order. I 
saw you in September, and although I felt I was not 
as kindly treated as others, I looked into your face, 
and if it is true that "the face is an index to the heart," 
I read in it a good, kind heart that can sympathize 
with the sufferings of others. I marked the courteous 
manner you addressed ladies, particularly the aged. 
These things encouraged me to pray you to interpose 


your higher authority. The setting of a leg is no 
crime that calls for forgiveness. I ask you to release 
him, and I believe you will do it. I beg you in the 
name of humanity, by all that is dear to me, in the 
name of his aged and suffering parents, his wife and 
four babies, to immediately put a stop to this inhuman 
treatment. By a stroke of your pen, you can cause 
these irons to fall and food to be supplied. By a 
stroke of that same pen, you can give him liberty. 
Think how much depends upon you. You were 
elected the Father of this people. Their welfare is 
your welfare. Then, in the name of God, if you let 
him die under this treatment, he an American citizen, 
who has never raised his arm, nor his voice against his 
country, can these people love you? Forgive me, I 
speak plainly, but my heart is very sore. You sa)^ 
"Women are your jewels," you hope for much from 
their prayers. I do not love you, neither will I ask the 
Almighty to bless you; but give back my husband to 
me, and to his parents who are miserable, — the wealth 
of my love and gratitude will be yours. My prayers 
shall ascend in union with my little children who are 
in happy ignorance, daily looking for the return of 
their "Pa." To Him who has said, "Suffer little chil- 
dren to come unto me," God of mercy I pray you, touch 
the heart of thy servant, make him give back my hus- 
band. Could you look into our household, it would 
give you a subject for meditation. In the Doctor's 
childhood home, there is his father, who is old and 
infirm. When he hears the name of his boy, his lips 
tremble, but he thinks it is not manly to yield to tears, 
besides, he has confidence in you. His mother has 
scarcely left her sick-room since his arrest. "She 
waits," she says, "to see him" ; then like Holy Simeon, 
"she is willing to die." Pass from this to my little 
household. I, a wife, drag out life in despondency. 


I, who was shielded from every care by him who is 
now suffering a living death, am miserable and have 
to battle with this overwhelming trouble. I am the 
mother of four babies, the oldest, seven years, the 
youngest, but one. The third, a delicate boy requiring 
constant care. I have confidence in you and feel you 
will grant my request. 

Very respectfully yours, 

Mrs. Dr. Samuei, A. Mudd. 

Saturday 23d, 1865. 
My darling Frank : 

The steamer has remained until the present. I send 
you one or two moss-pictures as- a Christmas gift, 
being the only thing in my power to transmit. You 
need not send any person to see me, for at present all 
intercourse and conversation with outsiders is inter- 
dicted, and it would only increase my suffering to be 
denied the pleasure and satisfaction of some kind 
friend or familiar face's company. 

I am well, but do not enjoy health. We have our 
Christmas dinner already in prospect, viz : canned 
roast turkey, sausage, oysters, preserves, fresh 
peaches, tomatoes, etc. 

Wishing from my inmost heart, you a happy, merry 
and joyful Christmas, I am. 

Your faithful, devoted and loving husband, 


Fort Jefferson, December 25, 1865. 
My dear Jere : 

To-day being Christmas, I shall endeavor in spirit 
to eat my dinner with you all, since Providence has 
decreed the denial of the reality. I can imagine the 
sight of all my little children, my dearest Frank and 
yourself, with the usual glass of egg-nog and sweet 


things, seated around a happy fire with no thought to 
mar the pleasure and joy of the greatest Christian 
festival. This was not long since the happiest of my 
thoughts, but oh! how far from the realization. I 
hate to contemplate the time that yet intervenes. For 
the future, do not mislead me to hope for relief by 
a certain time when there is no certainty. It adds 
only a new pain to my already languishing life. Do 
all you can, say nothing when you know nothing can 
be effected; avoid irritating and offensive language. on 
all occasions, and with parties whose influence may 
be of avail, make known the false testimony and unfair 
measures resorted to in order to effect my conviction. 
I am very well. Our treatment is the same as when 
I last wrote. 

I received a letter from Fannie dated December 6, 
mailed the 13th, informing me of your inability to 
accomplish my release. I have felt considerable dis- 
appointment; try for the future to save me this un- 
necessary anguish. Write often and send me papers. 
Lose no time in communicating the glad tidings should 
Providence favor your efforts. Love to all. 

Kiss Frank and all my dear little children. 


Fort Jefferson, December 25, 1865. 
My darling Frank : 

I wrote to you on the 20th, and now again on this, 
that should be to us all a joyful festival, to let you 
know I am well, and have received through Fannie, 
the intelligence of our mutual disappointment — tlie 
inability to effect the object of my sincerest hopes,^ — a 
speedy reunion. I was much grieved to know that 
Jere thought it necessary to rent out the farm. I was 
in hopes you would be able to hire one or two good 


hands, and cultivate through old Uncle John's man- 
agement the land yourself, but I know all things will 
be done for the best, therefore feel satisfied. Bear up, 
my darling, against all the adversities and calamities 
which have so suddenly befallen us, with Christian 
fortitude. I sometimes ask myself the question, 
"what have I done to bring so much trouble upon 
myself and family?" The answer is from my inmost 
heart — "nothing." I am only consoled to know that 
the greatest saints were the most prosecuted, and the 
greatest sufferers, although far be it from classing 
myself with those chosen friends of God. Would to 
God, darling, it was in my power to afford you some 
consolation in this, I hope, the darkest hour of our 
lives. I have endeavored to the best of my ability to 
lead as spotless and sinless a life as in my power. I 
have not omitted saying my beads a single day since 
living on this horrid island. We have not been visited 
yet by a priest, and I desire much to go to confession 
and communion and conform to all the requirements 
of our holy religion, yet I do not know whether I 
would be allowed this privilege should a minister of 
our church visit us at this time, since we are yet closely 
confined under guard and denied all intercourse with 
outsiders. Our duties are to sweep down the bastions 
of the Fort every day under a guard. Our condition 
is the same as when I last wrote. It is alleged my 
attempted escape has been the cause of our continued 
harsh treatment, but this can't be so, for none of the 
rest made the least move, and none of the party was 
there at the time. When the irons were placed upon 
us we were told they were only to be kept on while 
a steamer or vessel was lying at the wharf; but they 
have been on every day, and taken off at night since 
the first day they were put on. I am in hopes the day 
is not far distant when reason and law will take the 


place of passion, prejudice, and sectional hatred. So 
far as our conduct is concerned, none have been more 
quiet and submissive, although certain false statements 
and representations have been made. My sweet dar- 
ling wife, good-by. I am truly in hopes you have 
spent a more agreeable Christmas than myself. God 
bless you all. 

Samuel Mudd. 


PRISON U]?E IN 1866 — NEW year's DAY AT EORT 

Fort Jefferson, Florida, January i, 1866. 
My darling Frank : 

To-day being New Year, I have no better means at 
my command of spending the time appropriately than 
dropping you a few hasty lines to afiford you all the 
consolation that lies in my power. On the morning 
of the 28th, Bishop Verot, of Savannah, and the Rev. 
Father O'Hara arrived here about 6 o'clock. Soon 
word came that they desired to see me; my chains 
being taken off, I dressed in my best, and was soon 
ushered into their presence with my usual guard of 
honor. I found them preparing to say mass, and had 
the happy fortune of being present during the divine 

After service I had a short conversation with Bishop 
Verot and Rev. Wm. O'Hara. I received the con- 
tents of the letter formerly addressed to Father 
O'Hara by Sister Joseph — a cross, a scapular, etc. ,In 
the evening I had the pleasure of listening to a very 
learned and practical lecture from the Bishop. After 
the discourse, I repaired to my quarters, took my usual 
supper, said my beads, and enjoyed for a time a 
promenade up and down my gloomy quarters, when a 
rap at the door was heard, and my name called. On 
going to the door, I found our most pious and ven- 
erable Bishop had called to bid me good-by; he in- 
tended leaving in the morning. I had given the sub- 
ject of confession my attentive thought during the 
day, and remarked to the Bishop that I regretted I was 

-Andrew Johnson 



not allowed the privilege of confession that evening; 
he said then, if I desired, he had the permission already 
accepted, and I had the satisfaction and happiness to 
confess to the Bishop. The next morning I went to 
communion. Mass was said by the Bishop, Father 
O'Hara serving as before. After mass I bade the 
good and pious old man good-by, and received his 
blessing. I have not language at my command, my 
darling, to express the joy and delight I received on 
the occasion of this unexpected visit. Father O'Hara 
will remain a week, and I am in hopes I will have the 
happiness of again communing before he departs; I 
have made application. I heard mass yesterday. 
There are many Catholics among the citizen laborers, 
and we have quite a large congregation, nearly all 
going to communion. I have now, my darling wife, 
but one affliction, viz : uneasiness of mind regarding 
you and our precious little children. Imprisonment, 
chains and all other accompaniments of prison life, I 
am used to. I believe I can stand anything, but the 
thought of your dependent position, the ills and priva- 
tions consequent, pierce my heart as a dagger, and 
allow me no enjoyment and repose of mind. I have 
apprehensions from the idle, roving, and lawless 
negroes that roam unrestricted through the country. 
Be careful, my darling, and be ever guarded. 

The papers I notice are filled with horrible, most 
infamous and degraded crimes perpetrated by these 
outlaws. When you write, inform me what disposi- 
tion is made of the farm, horses, cows, sheep, etc., and 
whether any portion of land has been reserved for 
yourself to cultivate. Will Old John remain with 
you, or Albin? Consult, my dearest, with Pa and 
Jere, and try to remain comfortable and free from a 
dependent position. Give me all particulars that you 
deem worthy, and that can be written with propriety. 


for letters are inspected before handed to us. Disap- 
pointment produces more pain than the pleasure of 
hope or release, so my darling when you write again, 
say nothing illusive, and advise Henry and Fannie to 
refrain from alluding to what is not certain or reliable. 
It is all supposition, and I can suppose as well as they. 
The Court who sent' me here, I know well never con- 
templated the carrying out of the unheard-of sentence, 
considering the slight foundation for even the suspi- 
cion of crime, so, my darling, I do not stand in need 
of any of these vagueries. Life and everything in this 
world is uncertain and changeable, and we little know 
what other trials and crosses Providence may have yet 
in store for us. I have endeavored to the best of my 
ability to conform to all the duties required by our 
holy religion; my conscience is easy, and if death 
should visit me here (which I pray God to deliver me 
from), I am in hopes it will not find me unprepared. 
Live strictly agreeable to the dictates of your con- 
science and religion, and the trials we have endured 
may yet rebound to our earthly advantages ; if not, I 
am in hopes we will meet in heaven. I forgot to men- 
tion previously I had also the privilege of making the 
jubilee. The month of December was appointed by 
the Bishop for the province. Tell Henry and Fannie 
I will answer their letters by next mail. I fear a copy 
of a former letter of Fannie's has been sent to the War 
Department, at least a copy was made of it. The Pro- 
vost Marshal so informed me. I know not whether it 
was sent to the War Department. I fear imprudent 
talk and writing will yet dispose the mind of the Presi- 
dent not to listen to your appeals in my behalf. Be 
careful, my darling child, and refrain as much as 
possible from expressing any angry indignation 
toward the ruling powers, or using opprobrious 
epithets toward my known prosecutors. Such con- 


duct can have only the tendency to protract my stay 
here by keeping up agitation and excitement, if noth- 
ing else. Parties can have but little regard for my 
welfare, who are ever indulging in idle and injurious 
expressions. I feel that I should be perfectly satisfied 
to remain the balance of my days only in your and my 
little ones' company. My constant prayer is — God be 
merciful to us and grant me a speedy release, and a 
safe return to my family. Write often, don't await 
answer, for months would intervene between the recep- 
tion of letters. 

How much I regretted to learn of the sad accident 
that occurred to your old home. My heart is often 
softened by the memory of our happiest days. It was 
within its hallowed walls that we first indulged in the 
hope of a blissful future, but alas ! to what gloom have 
we arrived. 

Good-by, my darling wife and little children. 
Yours devotedly, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, January 2, 1866. 
My dear Fannie : 

The last letter I had the pleasure of receiving from 
you was dated the 6th of November — the previous let- 
ter was withheld on account of its objectionable con- 
tents. The offensive matter was read to me, though 
none of the family news. 

I knew, my dear Fannie, you intended no insult to 
any of the just and proper constituted authorities of 
the Government in your remarks, but the unworthy 
servants who scruple not to misconstrue and falsify — 
having for their chief motives the hope of honor, and 
the selfish lust and thirst for gain. It would be best 
for the future, Fannie, since words are of no avail, to 


abstain from all criticisms— give me only the family 
and neighborhood news. 

There has been no amelioration in our treatment 
since I last wrote, with the exception that our fare has 
much improved. Our Commandant is named B. H. 
Hill, formerly colonel, but now brevet brig.-genl. It 
was unnecessary to mention what knowledge you had 
of his disposition toward me — no word or sign of 
recognition has passed between us or any of his staff 
officers since he has been in command. Whatever 
opinions he may have formed concerning me, I did net 
wish or desire you to give any expression; I prefer 
leaving all abstruse matters to the solution of time. 
The opinion of one pro or con can effect but little 
whilst it is quiescent — it is only when the sympathies 
of good or evil are aroused, when good or evil is ac- 
complished. Be careful, therefore, in your comments, 
lest you produce an antagonism, which certainly will 
not tend to shorten my stay at this woeful place. 

I have had the happiness to go to confession and 
communion — I have given all particulars to dear 
Frank. Bishop Verot and Father O'Hara visited us 
on the 28th. When you write to Cousin Ann, tell her 
I have received the contents of the letter she sent 
Father O'Hara. The Bishop is a most saintly man, 
plain and unassuming as an old fiddlestick. Father 
O'Hara is also a very pious man, and is quite a fine 
preacher. I feel easy in spiritual matters, but not in 
the temporal. Frank and the children cause me more 
uneasiness and suffering than all the miseries of im- 
prisonment. I am truly in hopes she will have the 
strength to bear up against our present misfortunes 
and discomforts. When you write tell me if the ne- 
groes have committed any outrages in the neighbor- 
hood or county. Father O'Hara will be stationed at 
Key West, and will visit this place once every four or 


five weeks. You can write to him and make what in- 
quiries you deem necessary regarding our present con- 
dition. I don't wish you all to make any more ap- 
pointments without first and foremost enabling me to 
comply. You know how slowly the time passes when 
something pleasant and agreeable is in anticipation : 
the days and even the hours are counted, preparations 
and expense are made and incurred, then comes a put 
off, and finally a smash up — crushed hopes and nasty 
feelings. This I think is a picture of what has been 
presented to me. My dear Fannie, I have lost all my 
sugar teeth, and don't stand in need of sweets — I like 
something stable and real — no friend to sugar-coated 

If you have anything reliable, sufficiently so to allow 
you to fix a time, I would like much to know it, but 
where everything is so indefinite and dependent, I 
much prefer no allusion to the subject. When you 
write, inform me whether Ewing is interesting him- 
self in my behalf. Be guarded and say nothing in your 
letters that may be used to my detriment by the evil 
disposed. Adopt the principle of do much and say lit- 
tle. I was much grieved to hear of the death of Mr. 
Miles. I am in hopes he is better off than being in this 
world of strife and degradation. I was also much 
pained to hear of Pa's loss on Jere's place, the destruc- 
tion of the dwelling. I am afraid Pa will worry him- 
self too much about his present misfortunes and trials. 
Try, dear Fannie, to comfort dear Papa and Ma as 
much as in your power. Excitement, agitation, etc., 
bring about many bodily disorders and predispose to 
disease, so do all you can to soothe in trials and tribu- 
lations that now press so heavily upon us. Let me 
know whether Pa has succeeded in hiring any hands 
for this year, and what disposition is made of my 
place, and what Frank contemplates. I have heard 


nothing of the particulars of your and Frank's visit to 
Washington — only the fact. You need not tell me, if 
prudence dictates. Frank has never, in the letters I 
received from her, made any reference or allusion, and 
presume her silence was influenced by prudential mo- 
tives. Tell Henry his three months will have nearly 
expired by the time this reaches you, and certainly 
before an answer reaches me. His letter was dated 
October 30, so the end of the present month will com- 
plete the period. All is surmise and speculation. An 
early release on my part would be a virtual acknowl- 
edgment of the injustice of the court martial; there- 
fore, my conclusions are — I will have to remain here 
some time yet, to keep up appearances. Give my love 
to dear Ma, Pa, and all. 

I will not be able to answer Henry's letter before 
the next mail. It is impossible for me to answer every 
letter by the same mail. I have but a few minutes al- 
lowed me now for writing, generally by dim candle 
light, and can't be select in my language, or writing. 
Tell dear Frank that I either write to her, Jere, or 
some of you, every mail, and a letter to one must be 
considered for you all. Likely some of my letters 
have been held back like yours on account of objec- 
tionable contents, for I am confident not one boat has 
left without my writing to some one of you. Give me 
all the neighborhood news. You have taken a fancy to 
your neighbor's wealth, what will be next on the pro- 
gram? Give particulars of all my dear little children 
and dear Frank. Remember me to all friends, etc., 
and believe me, 

Your most devoted brother, 



Fort Jefiferson, January 22, 1866. 
My dearest, my darling Wife: 

I will now attempt a description of myself, having 
exhausted in this and all previous letters all other sub- 
jects. I am beginning to realize the saying of the 
Psalmist — "I have grown old in my youth," etc. Im- 
agine one loaded down with heavy chains, locked up in 
a wet, damp room, twelve hours out of every twenty- 
four during working days, and all day on Sundays and 
holidays. No exercise allowed except in the limited 
space of a small room, and with irons on. The atmos- 
phere we breathe is highly impregnated with sulphuric 
hydrogen gas, which you are aware is highly injurious 
to health as well as disagreeable. The gas is generated 
by the numerous sinks that empty into that portion of 
the sea enclosed by the breakwater, and which is im- 
mediately under a small port hole — the only admission 
for air and light we have from the external port. My 
legs and ankles are swollen and sore, pains in my 
shoulders and back are frequent. My hair began fall- 
ing out some time ago, and to save which I shaved it 
all over clean, and have continued to do so once every 
week since. It is now beginning to have a little life. 
My eyesight is beginning to grow very bad, so much 
so that I, can't read or write by candle-light. During 
the day, owing to the overpowering light and heat, my 
eyes are painful and irritated, and can't view any ob- 
ject many seconds without having to close or shade 
them from the light. With all this, imagine my gait 
with a bucket and broom, and a guard, walking around 
from one corner of the Fort to another, sweeping and 
sanding down the bastions. This has been our treat- 
ment for the last three months, coupled with bad diet, 
bad water, and every inconvenience. The greatest 
wonder is, that we have borne up so well. The weather 


here since the beginning of the winter has been as 
warm as summer with you. The inhabitants are nearly 
always in their shirt sleeves and bare feet. There has 
been no time yet that a person could not sleep out com- 
fortably in open air, when raining all night. It sounds 
strange to read of heavy snows and persons freezing to 
death, in the papers. I am truly in hopes, my darling, 
you and my precious little ones have not suffered from 
the want of fuel, and the necessary comforts of life 
and health. Try, my darling, and do not expose your 
health — consider the welfare and the duty we owe to 
our children. Save them, if possible, from being 
thrown upon this cold and heartless world, uneducated 
and ignorant of the debt they owe the Supreme Ruler 
of all. With the picture I have presented, you no 
doubt think I enjoy no pleasure or comfort. This, my 
dearest Frank, is not the case. My principal consola- 
tion is the knowledge of having no responsibilities im- 
mediately, other than the salvation of my own soul. 
Be assured then that I have done all that laid in my 
power toward that end. I have already written you 
concerning the visit of the Bishop of Savannah and 
Father O'Hara, now stationed at Key West, to this 
place. I have received no tidings from the letter you 
sent containing money. I received the contents of the 
letter forwarded to Father O'Hara. I sent you some 
time ago a ring, containing a silver set of a cross and 
four little diamonds in the center, and on each side a 
heart. Let me know whether you received it or not. 
Love to all. Sam. 

Fort Jefferson, Florida, January 28, 1866. 
My darling Wife: 

I had the happy consolation on the 26th of receiv- 
ing four letters, and being relieved from the horrible 
chains. The letters were, one from Cecie, one from 


Jere, and two from your sweet self. I was much re- 
joiced to know that you were all well, and that our 
precious little boy was convalescent, or fully recovered. 
Jere spoke of Pa and Ma's health being yet vety bad. 
I am afraid affliction is the cause. Try, my darling, 
to cheer and console them all in your power. They are 
the only friends I have on earth, and the only tie that 
binds me to the land of my birth. Tell them, my dar- 
ling, though absent, they are not forgotten, and the 
truly Christian lessons imparted during my youth, now 
more than ever, are being appreciated and practiced. 

I wrote to you and Henry some days ago. The 
letter was returned on account of containing some ob- 
jectionable matter. I have written twelve or fifteen 
letters to you and home folks since Christmas. I pre- 
sume they have been forwarded to you, since they were 
not returned. I have no direct knowledge. Letters 
are likely delayed on account of having to undergo ex- 
amination. I have never failed to avail myself of every 
opportunity to write to you; duty as much as love 
and pleasure prompts me to do so. Be actuated by 
similar motives, and, my precious one, I shall be satis- 

Hoping to hear again shortly from you, and that 
you may be able to communicate the realization of my 
brightest dreams, I bid you a sorrowful adieu. 
Your devoted husband, 


President Johnson having received my 
mother's letter of the 22d of December, 1865, 
issued an order for better treatment toward 
my father and his companions in exile. This 
order having reached those in command, the 
prisoners were relieved from their chains and 
given better quarters for a time. 


Fort Jefferson, Tortugas Island, February 8, 1866. 
My dear Jere : 

I received your very kind letter of the 26th of Jan- 
uary last. I was in hopes ere this, from representa- 
tions made, that I vifould be bounding the billows of the 
wild ocean with home my happy destination. I sup- 
pose it is decreed otherwise. I must be resigned. I 
have nothing new to report other than we have been 
relieved of our chains, and some interest manifested 
for our general well-being. Please forward to Frank 
after reading. 

Write soon, remember me kindly to all friends, and 
believe me. 

Most sincerely your brother, etc., 

Samuel A. Mudd. 

Fort Jefferson, Florida, February 18, 1866. 
My darling Frank : 

I received yesterday two letters, dated January 25 
and February 3, though bringing me nothing definite. 
I was much consoled to learn you were all in the en- 
joyment of good health and spirits, and possessed with 
brave resolutions to bear up bravely against our pres- 
ent adversity. Continue, my darling, upon this happy 
course, and God, I am in hopes, will crown our efforts. 

You (invariably) mention in your letters that the 
time is but short that I have to remain ; afterward you 
remark, "Should weeks and months pass without re- 
ceiving a letter," etc. I want you to state in your next 
what you consider a short time. I am becoming tired 
of these expressions, because they don't comport with 
my reckoning. Perhaps you call one, two, or three 
years short — it seems very short after it is passed, but 
distressingly long to view in my present position and 
condition — "in futuro." It generally requires from 
twelve to fifteen days for a letter to reach me, and 


about the same time one from you, so you can judge 
at wh^t time it would take me to get home after my 
release was known to you — fully six weeks would in- 
tervene, not short. 

Our chains have been removed, our quarters changed 
to a healthier locality, and our fare much improved, 
so I have hopes of a prolongation of the thread of life. 
Be assured, my darling, nothing will be done willingly 
on my part to endanger health, or the violation of any 
rule or order having a tendency to prolong my stay 
here. You need not bother yourself about sending me 
money. The clothing sent me, I have no use for, and 
I can convert them into something to eat, should I re- 
quire. I have not worn any of the clothing sent me; 
my occupation not being very clean, it would be the 
height of nonsense to wear them. 

Write soon. Remember me to Cousin Betty, my 
precious babies. Pa, Ma and family^ and Old Uncle 
John. I will write to Mr. Best by the next mail. 
Good-by, God bless you and our dear little ones. 
Your husband, 


Baltimore, February i8, 1866. 
Dear Frank: 

On my way up, I stopped in Washington to see 
Ford, but learned he was not in the city, so yesterday 
I went over and had a long interview with him. He 
told me he had a long interview with the President the 
day before, and had every assurance he would release 
Sam at the earliest moment he could consistently do 
so; the President also remarked to him, he (Sam) 
was a mere creature of accident, and ought not to have 
been put there, but in the present state of political ex- 
citement he did not think it prudent in him to take any 
action, as it would be another pretext for the radicals 


to build capital on. He also stated that the issue be- 
tween the President and the radicals would be -made 
in a few days, and if they still persisted in their ex- 
treme measures, he would then take a decided stand 
against them ; so, my dear Frank, you will still have to 
exercise the virtue of patience yet awhile longer. 

I have not the least doubt that Sam will be released 
as soon as Johnson can do so with propriety, and I 
really think the day is not far distant. These are my 
own opinions from information derived from different 
sources, which I will explain to you when I come 
down, which will be the 8th of March. Let me hear 
from you as soon as you receive this, and tell me all 
the news, and tell me how you are getting along. 
Your brother, 


Washington, February 22, 1866. 
My dear Madam: 

It is not yet time to move in your husband's case. 
The Supreme Court will try and decide the question as 
to the jurisdiction of Military Commissions, in a case 
from Indiana, on the first Monday in March. Let us 
hear their decision before anything is done. 

We are all glad to hear from you, and to know that 
you are bearing your trials bravely. 

Very respectfully yours, 

Thomas Ewing. 

Fort Jefferson, Florida, February 28, 1866. 
My darling Frank : 

In all of your letters you seem animated with hopes 
of an early release. It can't be so, after perceiving the 
vindictive hate which has followed me to this place. 

My attention was called some days ago to some "ex 
post facto" statements made by Captains Button and 


Heichman. I can't divine the motive of the author or 
the prosecution in appending these affairs and unjust 
fabrications after my trial, because they do not give 
me a chance of refutation. To hold me responsible for 
such, would be equivalent to the denial of all justice, 
and all that vi^ould be necessary to condemn a man 
would be first to bind and gag him, then allow his ene- 
mies to come forward and make their accusations. 
This is the exact proceeding in my case. In the letter 
to Jere I wrote in relation to this, fearing he might not 
receive, I again make mention, and request you to 
confer with General Evi^ing or Stone in regard, and let 
me know what, if any, bearing it has upon my case. 
It is not my wish to agitate the matter, knowing it 
will have no tendency to benefit me. All I wish you to 
do is to speak to my counsel, and act under their wise 

Your ever devoted and loving husband, 

SamuDi. Mudd. 

Fort Jefferson, March 3, 1866. 
My darling Frank : 

Mail arrived this morning, being the second with- 
out bringing any intelligence from you or friends. 
You must know my anxiety upon the arrival of every 
mail, and disappointment when receiving no tidings. 
The mail will leave this evening. Father O'Hara ar- 
rived here this morning, and I learn will return this 
evening without affording us an opportunity to go to 
confession; his visit was to the sick. I have no time 
to say more. Give my love to all. Write soon and 
pray for a speedy release. 

Hoping you and our dear little ones are well, I am 
most truly and devotedly, 

Your husband, 

SamueIv Mudd. 


Fort Jefferson, March 13, 1866. 
My darling Prank : 

Since the reception of the last mail, I have been ani- 
mated with greater hope of speedy release on account 
of the firm and decided policy of the President and his 
endorsement by the people. The President thought, 
and wisely, that time enough had been given Congress 
to fully appreciate the public needs; they not acting, 
every lover of peace and good-will has justified him in 
taking the initiatory. God grant that his plan may be 
accepted and acted upon by Congress in the true spirit, 
and quiet once more be restored throughout the land. 

When you write or see Jere again, tell him for me, 
to go and see Colonel or Judge Turner of the War 
Department in reference to what statements and lan- 
guage I made use of on my way to this place. I was 
often in his company. I did explain to him all I knew, 
which was nothing more than I wrote to Jere on a for- 
mer occasion. 

Hoping the great mystery will soon be cleared up, 
and an honorable release my portion, I am. 
Your loving husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, March 17, 1866. 
My darling Frank : 

I know not how to express my indignation con- 
cerning the unfairness of the detectives, the Courr, 
and the subsequent action of parties in append- 
ing false and injurious statements after my trial, 
when they know it was not in my power to refute by a 
legal proceeding, or to make denial without using lan- 
guage deemed improper. You, my darling, are differ- 
ently situated ; you have liberty of action, and for your 
theme the changes that every fleeting hour makes in 
your midst and the surrounding world. These you sel- 


dom ever advert to, nor do I find the paper well used 
up in the matter it contains. I, however, my loving 
one, find no fault, believing you influenced by motives 
of discretion, and the duties that now press upon you a 
sufficient cause. 

I am now becoming of the opinion that it would 
have been better for me had I never written a word 
since being here. I certainly would have been 
as well off, if not better, for I fear it has caused 
indignant feelings, and words which are not t®l- 
erated at this time, only to a privileged set. Wm. L. 
Garrison's remarks, which I see quoted in the papers 
to-day, are as revolutionary as any that animated the 
rebellion. But enough, I have no news for the fu- 
ture, you must be satisfied with the fact that I am 
well. It is the only pleasure I have in this lonely place 
to write to you, and make known many of my sorrows 
and difficulties, as I have none of joy to relate you. 

I think it best for you to leave my case entirely in the 
hands of my counsel and friends. If you can see Judge 
Grain, I am confident he would, at the word, lend you 
his aid in my behalf. I saw his name as chairman of a 
committee in Baltimore to present certain resolutions 
to the President. Hastily written, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, March 22, 1866. 
My darling Frank: 

I have just written to Gecie, and am now hastily 
dropping you these few words to let you know that I 
am well, and to comply with a precious promise to 
write every opportunity. I am entirely without news, 
and I find it impossible to gratify your desire for a 
long letter without adverting to matter which has no 
connection with us. Criticism is objected to; there- 
fore, my precious one, accept the will for the deed. 


How much I desire to communicate to you something 
consoling and cheering and free you from the many 
anxieties and hardships that bother both mind and 
body, but such unhappily is not in my power. Even 
the little bird that has strayed away from a more con- 
genial clime, and finds a resting-place here, loses his 
song, and shows evident marks of despondency. With 
us all is gloom and monotony, no pleasant change of 
scenery, or anything new to divert the mind or body. 
Mail arrives about once in ten or fifteen days, and the 
papers bring us nothing but stale news, which serves 
to occupy the mind but a few hours. I am very anx- 
ious to hear from you, and when a mail arrives with- 
out bringing any intelligence, I feel more heavily my 

My darling Frank, I have but one desire, namely: 
to be with you and see our dear little children properly 
trained and educated. Fannie writes gloomily of af- 
fairs now in your midst, and I fear, unless kind Provi- 
dence intervenes, great suffering in the community 
must ensue. God grant that you may be spared, and 
that I may be allowed soon to contribute my feeble 
strength toward your support and protection. 

Be assured, my sweet Frank, you are the object of 
all my thought and solicitude upon earth, and my fond- 
est dream is the hour when I shall bid adieu to this 
land of exile, and fly to the bosom of you, and our pre- 
cious little family there, never more to part. God 
speed the time is my daily prayer. Give my love to Pa 
and all the family, Cousin Betty and Uncle John. Kiss 
the children for me and believe me most fondly and af- 







fljipi J 

F'lii ftp*' 
■''^ III BS' 



Fort Jefferson, Tortugas, Fla., March 31, 1866. 
My darling Frank : 

I am just in receipt of yours of March 7, and feel 
much disturbed at the wretched condition of affairs 
existing in your midst. Sooner or later the wrath of 
the Almighty will fall upon these public plunderers 
and destroyers of the liberty, peace, and happiness of 
our best citizens. 

You spoke of Thomas being implicated or strongly 
suspected. I am in hopes his day of retribution is nigh. 
He is no doubt the principal source (fool as he is) of 
my ruin and present unhappy state. I am truly sorry 
for poor Padgett and 'Squire George. Negro evidence 
was brought against me, why can't it be used against 
Thomas? "It is a bad rule that won't work both 

The picture above presents an easterly view of the 
Fort. No. I, marked in ink, shows you the location of 
our quarters. These three marks are loop holes, about 
four inches wide on the inside and two feet outside — 
about seven feet above the floor, serving better the pur- 
pose of ventilation than agreeable breeze. The door 
below is the sally port, and is the only entrance to the 
Fort. No. 2 is the lighthouse; 3, officers' quarters; 
4, prisoners' quarters; 5, Logger Head Lighthouse, 
about three miles distant ; No. 6 represents Hog Island, 
a turtle, and a barrel used to carry water to hogs. 
Turtles are frequently caught weighing two or three 
hundred pounds. 


In yours of a prior date you remarked that you 
would in the course of a few weeks visit Washington 
and Baltimore. By the time this reaches you I expect 
your tour will have been completed, and if nothing ac- 
complished toward my release, I am in hopes you will 
have nothing to regret, but, on the contrary, your 
health and spirits much invigorated by the reaction of 
both mind and body, which no doubt the observance of 
Lent, the cares of family, changeable weather, bad 
colds, etc., has tended to depress. This, together with 
the advent of stuffed ham^ boiled chicken, the spring- 
ing into life of numerous salads, will brace you up to 
bear more bravely the vicissitudes of your present con- 
dition of life. With us the virtue of necessity is ever 
our privilege, and on the principle of nature accommo- 
dating itself to circumstances, finds me no worse off at 
the end than in the beginning of Lent. My health con- 
tinues good, and without the intervention of yellow 
fever, cholera or some other dread malady, may sur- 
vive a while longer. 

Art often overcomes and subdues nature. A ball 
can be made .to roll up a hill. My disposition is under- 
going a change. The virtue of resignation to an ad- 
verse and unjust punishment is rapidly dying out 
within me, and a different spirit supplanting. God 
knows I try to control these emotions, but it seems 
almost in vain. 

History often reverses itself. Pilate, fearing the dis- 
pleasure of the multitude, condemned our Lord to 
death. Is not mine somewhat an analogous case. Ow- 
ing to the excitement and influence prevailing at the 
time of my trial, I could excuse much; but since time 
has elapsed for a sober, dispassionate consideration of 
the matter, I am becoming vexed at my protracted 
exile. I suppose it is all human. 

I am truly grieved to hear of Mother's bad health — 


would that I could prescribe something to cure or re- 
lieve. I know nothing of her condition or disease, con- 
sequently can advise nothing without the risk of doing 
more evil than good. God grant it may be in my 
power soon to come to her aid. I must now, my dear 
Frank, reluctantly conclude by advising your best dis- 
cretion in the selection of parties to represent my case. 
I fear those who have been making you such fair prom- 
ises are influenced principally by selfish motives and 
have no real personal interest of mine at stake. I leave 
you and friends judges of the matter; but it strikes 
me, the party in whom you have been confiding is 
guilty of child's play, and should no longer be esteemed 
an adviser and friend. Use more care in writing, and 
give me all neVvs correct. Let me hear further in rela- 
tion to these incendiaries. 

Your disconsolate husband, 

SamuEi, Mudd. 

Fort Jefiferson, Florida, April 8, 1866. 
My darling Frank : 

I am very well, and- the island continues quite 
healthy. Yellow fever and cholera are reported pre- 
vailing at Key West about sixty miles distant ; precau- 
tions have been taken to prevent its introduction here. 
I received no letter from you by the last mail. I wrote 
to you on the 226. and 29th, also to Sissy. Give my 
love to Pa, Ma, and all the family, Cousin Betty and 
Mr. Best, and kiss all our precious little children. I 
have not time to say more. 

Hoping we may be spared further afflictions, and our 
unhappy situation about ended, I am most affection- 
ately and devotedly. 

Your husband, 



Baltimore, April 9, 1866. 
Dear Frank : 

This is the first opportunity I have had since my re- 
turn to write you. I had a long talk with Judge Grain 
yesterday, and he has promised to get for me the de- 
cision of the Supreme Court. It is generally believed 
that they have decided there was no law for trying 
civilians or persons not attached to the army by mili- 
tary courts. He has gone to Harford County to at- 
tend court, and will not be back before Friday. He 
promised me when he returned he would go to Wash- 
ington, and get Reverdy Johnson, as he knew the Pres- 
ident was very fond of him, and try to get the Presi- 
dent to release Sam; and if he would not do it, he 
thought he probably could be gotten out through the 
courts, if the decision of the Supreme court is as rep- 
resented, which there seems to be no doubt about ; but 
they are keeping it from the people for political rea- 
sons. I myself am very sanguine of being able to do 
something for him in a short time. We will probably 
have to send a lawyer to Florida to get out a writ, but 
I hope to be able to accomplish his release without go- 
ing to any more expense. You may rest assured I will 
not let the matter rest if I find there is any chance of 
doing anything for him. When the Judge returns, I 
will write you and give you all the information I can 

Brother Jerb; [Dyer] . 

Fort Jefferson, Florida, April 16, 1866. 
My darling Frank : 

We received papers as late as the 3d instant, and 
were much delighted to see the veto message of the 
President upon the Civil Rights Bill and the Proclama- 
tion of Peace, restoring the equal rights of all States 


throughout the South, and the suspension of all mili- 
tary proceedings in civil cases. 

I am anxiously awaiting the good news promised in 
your letter. I was a little indisposed a few days ago, 
but have fully recovered upon hearing all was well with 
you. The mail will leave this evening, and my letters 
have to be examined; unless I am short, it may not 
meet with approval. 

Your husband, etc., 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, April 27, 1866. - 
My darling Frank : 

I wrote to you a few days ago in anticipation of 
a departing mail. To-day I received letters from 
Fannie, Henry, and Doctor Blandford, and was 
much grieved to learn that you were all much 
disturbed at the appearance in the papers of a lying re- 
port concerning myself. It seems to be the intention 
of prejudiced parties not to let the effect of a slander 
die out without birth being given to another. I have 
not had a dozen words with a commissioned officer 
since the present regiment had command of the Post, 
therefore I could not have been very "querulous." I 
have not been reticent without a motive. My health 
has been better than might have been expected. I am 
not as strong as I might be, for the want of proper ex- 
ercise. We are under guard all the time, and no exer- 
cise allowed except in the performance of duty, which 
is very light. I can perform all I have to do in a couple 
of hours. We are confined to our room on Sundays 
and no exercise allowed. My duty is simply to sweep 
down the bastions once every day. I am very well, 
and anxiously awaiting relief from my unjust banish- 
ment. Your devoted husband, 



Fort Jefferson, Florida, May i, 1866. 
My dear Cousin : 

We received yesterday the box containing all the 
articles mentioned, in good condition, for which we 
are under many obligations of gratitude. Accept my 
kindest thanks. We are all very well and possessed of 
the liveliest hopes for a speedy release, through the mer- 
cies of a kind Providence. I am entirely without news. 
I wrote to you early in March, and returned the cards 
pressed with moss agreeable to request; since then I 
have received no intelligence from you. I have letters 
as late as the 12th of April from my family ; they were 
well, and more prosperous than I could reasonably 
suppose. Don't forget to thank Cousin M. for her 
kind present of books. I will not have time to write 
to her by this mail. Enclosed I send you a few moss- 
cards. I am sorry it is not in my power to send some- 
thing worthy of your kindness. I shall say to-day a 
pair of beads for your intention. The weather is ex- 
ceedingly warm here ; two were nearly overcome from 
the effects of heat yesterday. Up to this time I have 
heard of no fatal termination in consequence. 

Hoping to have the pleasure soon of greeting you in 
person, I am most truly. 

Your cousin, etc., 


From Carmelite Convent, 

Baltimore, Md., May, 1866. 
Cousin Jere : 

After reading this letter, please send it to Frank ; it 
may be Jater news than she has had. I am glad the 
things reached them in safety. They were a long time 
on the way. 

Sr. Josi;ph. 

THU life of dr. SAJIUEI/ a. MUDD 177 

New Orleans, May ii, 1866. 
Dear Sam : 

I have sent box containing canned fruits, etc., also 
enclosed thirty dollars. Anything you need that the 
authorities will permit, inform me and I will forward 
to you. Frank and the children are well, also your 
father's family. I think you may expect relief in a 
short time. Trusting to hear from you, believe me, 
Truly yours, 

Thomas O. DYi;R. 

Dept. General's Office, May 10, 1866. 
The commanding ofificer at Dry Tortugas will please 
permit Dr. Mudd to receive this letter with the en- 
closed thirty dollars. 

By order Major General Sheridan, 

C. D. McCA^ifi^Y, 
Capt. & Pro. Mar. Gen'l. 
Received of the within thirty dollars, the sum of 
twenty dollars, to be paid in installments. 

F. Robinson, 

2d Lieut. 

Fort Jefferson, Florida, June 2, 1866. 
My darling Frank : 

I received yours of the 7th to-day, and beyond the 
fact that Andrew has recovered from his accident, and 
that you are all well, etc., imparted but little satisfac- 
tion. I want no applause, no ovation, on my way 
home, should Providence vouch the favor. On the 
contrary, I desire more than ever quiet and content- 
ment in the bosom of my precious little family. 

I feel that I have complied with every duty to God, 
to man and to the Government. My conscience rests 
easy under all the grossly false and frivolous charges, 


notwithstanding their approval by an unjust, bigoted, 
and partisan Court. I scorn the idea, the doctrine that 
the innocent should sufifer to satisfy a bloodthirsty and 
vindictive people. Was Pilate justified in sanctioning 
the death of our Saviour to appease the wrath of the 
multitude, who cried out for his blood? They who 
contend that the multitude, the mob, must rule, though 
innocence and justice be trodden under foot, are walk- 
ing exactly in the footsteps of poor weak old Pilate. 
Spare me from the many kisses — they bode no good, 
and the many promised visits deliver me from. These 
things instead of having the effect you intended, 
namely : to bear up my spirits, etc., having served only 
to embitter. You are wrong to tolerate any such sen- 
timent or interpretation — it only coincides with, or con- 
firms, the verdict of the Court, who sentenced me to 
this hell. I know, my darling, you never intended or 
thought such an interpretation could be implied. For 
the future, give me only family, and neighborhood 
news. You need not say anything upon the subject of 
my release; for, instead of lessening, it has increased 
the bitterness of my banishment and close confinement. 
I should sooner see, than hear talk of it. I would 
sooner not be told and promised so often, and then not 
to see it. Your husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, June lo, 1866. 
My darling Frank : 

I received yesterday a letter from Cousin Ann, ap- 
parently reflecting your opinions, protracting my stay 
in this hell for several months longer. Thus I am led 
like an infant beginning to crawl. Phantom-like, at 
the moment you arrive at the summit of all your ex- 
pectations, and are about to grasp the coveted prize, it 
vanishes, or is seen only in the distance. The vagueries 


which you and others had so impHcitly reHed upon as 
certainties, and which were innocently imparted, or 
intentionally to stimulate hopes, have had their react- 
ing influence. I do not wish to be considered a scold ; 
you know my temperament, that I am naturally nerv- 
ous and excitable — to such there is perhaps no greater 
or more painful state of trial than that occasioned by 
severe and long suspense. When we know precisely 
what we have to endure, we can usually call to our aid 
the needed strength, and submission ; but a more than 
ordinary patience and forbearance is necessary to en- 
able us calmly and tranquilly to await the approach of 
an important period, containing within its fleeting 
hours the promise to us of life's sweetest joys in doubt 
— our reunion. One moment hope usurps the misery 
and promises happiness ; we smile, breathe freely, and 
banish care and anxiety; but an instant more, and 
some word, look, or even thought changes the whole 
aspect, clouds take the place of smiles, the heart heaves 
with apprehension, fear is awakened, and in proportion 
as we have cherished a confident pleasure or joy, are 
we plunged into the agony of doubt and disappoint- 
ment. You are not alone, my darling, in contributing 
to these emotions ; nearly every letter received the past 
seven or eight months has had the tendency to lead me 
to expect release at an early day; and that I should 
now feel indifferent toward the reception of such let- 
ters, is only the natural consequence of a nervous sen- 
timent and feeling. 

In my last I came to an abrupt close, the mail going 
off sooner than I expected. I had not time to say all 
that I intended, and to qualify that which I had writ- 
ten, therefore, have fears you will mistake its purport. 
You spoke of the sympathy of friends, etc. Their kind 
wishes can never do me any good so long as I am here 
caged ; on the contrary, I fear you do me harm by the 


expression of any opinion favorable to the President 
and his poHcy. This was hinted at some time ago by a 
member of Congress, viz : "Even the conspirators 
were favorable to his (the President's) plan of recon- 
struction." You will do well, my darling Frank, since 
you know every word and act is so grossly miscon- 
strued, to cease all utterance upon political subjects 
and adverting to the sympathy of friends in my regard. 
I assure you I do not desire it. After all, it may be 
only flattery, passing away an idle moment, or dissimu- 
lation. Acts of indiscretion are often committed by 
a too-confiding nature. Spurn those who would seek 
to elevate pride. 

My darling Frank, I had promised myself long ere 
this the possession of more joy and happiness upon our 
second reunion than realized at the first. We know 
each other better, thus better able to reciprocate and 
appreciate our mutual love and affection; besides sur- 
rounded by our precious little children, naturally binds 
us more closely, and will inspire us with every devo- 
tion of love and gratitude to promote their welfare. 
So confident was I at one time, that I did not deem it 
necessary to write, believing that the arrival of the next 
steamer would take me rejoicing to your fond em- 

It is now two months or more since the decision of 
the Supreme Court was rendered; time, I would say, 
sufficient to ascertain its application and bestow its 
benefits, yet hearing nothing definite in relation, leads 
me to many conjectures. I am well, but you can better 
imagine than I can express, the animus of a being who 
has suffered so long the alternations of elevation and 
depression of spirit. Don't send any more of my let- 
ters to outside parties, and have as little to say as pos- 
sible to the inquiries of others regarding me. Stone 


and Ewing seem to be doing nothing. I have never 
received a syllable from one of them. 

Try, my darling Frank, to give me as correct an 
idea of affairs as prudence will permit. Judging from 
the newspapers, I think matters look quite hopeful, and 
I can't bring myself to believe that I will be here a 
month longer. I received a box of eatables and thirty 
dollars from dear Tom on the 30th of May. This is 
the third letter I have written to you recently. Father 
O'Hara paid us a flying visit a few days ago, not in a 
ministerial capacity; he being called away by the 
Bishop. We will have no minister here again before 
November next. He told me he had received a letter 
from you, and handed me money in compliance with 
your request; but I was well supplied, and returned 
him thanks for responding to your ever-solicitous at- 
tention in my regard. 

Your devoted husband, 

Sam Mudd. 

Baltimore, June 13, 1866. 
Dear Frank : 

On my way up last Thursday I stopped in Wash- 
ington, and had a long talk with Wood,* and he re- 
quested me to say to you, he had given you his word 
to do all for Sam in his power, and he never falsified 
his word. He told me he would give me a letter which 
he knew would be of great service; he was then very 
busy, and preferred not writing until he could take the 
time to write in such a manner as would be satisfac- 
tory to himself and us. He promised to try and write 
it on Sunday, and let me know as soon as he got it 
ready, but I have not yet heard from him. 

Ford [John T. of Ford's Theater] told me yesterday 
he had engaged Reverdy Johnson in Spangler's case, 

*Wm. P. Wood, the Keeper of the Old Capitol Prison.— Ed. 


and would take action as soon as Congress adjourns; 
he thought it useless to do anything before, as it would 
probably do harm. Congress might take some action 
to defeat him. I am very sanguine, after the adjourn- 
ment of Congress, we will be able to accomplish Sam's 
release ; and the so much desired event, namely : the 
adjournment of that august body, will take place about 
the first of July. 

Your brother, 

]m^ [Dyer]. 

Fort Jefferson, Florida, June 17, 1866. 
My darling Frank : 

Although your last and Fannie's, received the 13th 
instant, held out no immediate prospect of release, on 
the contrary led me to infer you had lost all hopes in 
previous measures, and parties so confidently relied 
upon, yet I assure you, though the effect was depress- 
ing at first, after due consideration I could but feel 
grateful to our all-kind Providence for having be- 
stowed upon you so much ambition and cheerfulness 
to bear up against our sudden change of fortune. I 
am really proud of your success in farming, and regret 
my want of language to express due praise. I am 
afraid my presence would be only an incubus, the long 
and close confinement, etc., endured rendering me but 
illy prepared to contend actively with the pursuits 
which the farm and my profession demand. Since 
matters have progressed so well, I will be too happy 
to surrender to you the dictation in all affairs pertain- 
ing to the farm. I sometimes try to feel indifferent, 
and ask myself the question — why should I feel dis- 
turbed, my family can take care of themselves? — sep- 
aration must inevitably come one day, and perhaps it 
is better now than later. I have had every desire com- 
mon to a husband and parent to be restored to my fam- 


ily, and feel I have done all consistent with my knowl- 
edge of right to be restored, failing in which has but 
disinclined me to future efforts or hopes. My endeav- 
ors are not to be resigned and careless, regardless of 
every surrounding. You are, my darling, differently 
situated. You have freedom of action, you have four 
precious little babes to provide for, to love and be 
loved, and my daily prayer has been, and for the future 
will be, that you may be blessed with strength and 
perseverance to perform agreeably to every duty re- 
quired by our holy religion. 

I can't imagine, after the turn which matters have 
taken, why a shadow should come over your dream, 
and render it necessary to put the management of my 
case into other hands. I almost feel like advising you 
to take no more counsel, but leave matters in statu 
quo, believing further action now will not hasten, but, 
on the contrary, cost money needed for the support of 
you and family. However, being in no situation to 
advise, I must leave you and our friends to judge 
what steps are necessary to be taken. I have no news. 
I wrote to you last on the loth and 13th. I am as well 
as usual, weak and nervous from the long confine- 
ment, otherwise healthy, and not much changed in ap- 
pearance. Kiss all our darling little children, and, as 
ever, most fond, and devotedly, 

Your husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, June 21, 1866. 
My darling Frank: 

Writing is the only pleasure I enjoy, because I im- 
agine myself so many minutes in conversation; yet 
much is dissipated by its being subject to the criti- 
cism and scrutiny of others. My heart yearns to be 
with you and our precious little children. How much 


I need your consoling and soothing voice, and the 
happy and innocent pranks and glee of our dear little 
ones, to cheer me up. In being separated from you, 
my dear Frank, I am parted with all that I desire to 
live for in this world. My restoration, I am afraid, 
would afford me more pleasure than Divine Provi- 
dence is willing to accord ; this thought gives me un- 

I have nothing new — matters are about the same. 
My employment is the same, viz: sweeping down 
the bastions. This does not occupy many minutes to 
perform, when I can repair at my option to my quar- 
ters, which consist of two casemates — being all the 
time under close guard. My health continues gener- 
ally good, though I am weak and nervous, which I 
attribute to the diet, want of exercise and climate, 
combined with the reception of unfavorable news, and 
consequent agitation of mind. I have received no let- 
ter from you since the one dated June the ist, from 
the last week in May up to the present; this is the 
seventh that I have written to you. I scarcely ever 
receive any papers, although I have had the benefit of • 
the papers received by my roommates. Write often, 
and accept the kindest wishes of one that loves you 
more dearly than life. 

Your devoted husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, June 24, 1866. 
My darling Frank: 

I wrote to you and Henry on the 21st instant, but 
having written to Jere, I enclose this short epistle in 
the same envelope. Writing to you is the only source 
of pleasure I have on this inhospitable island, and I 
never let an opportunity pass without availing myself 
of it. The last mail I received no letter from any 


one — mails arriving so seldom, about once in ten days, 
making it generally a month between the reception of 
your letters. 

I had made calculations and promised myself the 
gratification of the only desire of my heart to be with 
you and our dear little children long before this late 
period, and you can imagine my sore disappointment 
when I discovered them to be only castles in the air. 
I have lost patience and my usual serenity. I have 
felt like throwing away pen and ink, and foregoing 
the pleasure of ever writing again — and follow the 
wise maxim, "Blessed are those who expect nothing, 
for they shall not be disappointed." I know that you 
would not knowingly deceive, and am rather disposed 
to believe you were wilfully imposed upon by those 
who knew better. I am in hopes you will be more 
guarded in future, and not suffer your credulity to 
mislead you again. My darling Frank, I arn nearly 
worn out, the weather is almost suffocating, and mil- 
lions of mosquitoes, fleas, and bedbugs infest the whole 
island. We can't rest day or night in peace for the 

The only objection I have to the linen shirts sent 
me by Cousin Ann, is the fact they are not proof 
against the penetrating beak of the mosquitoes, and I 
fear I will have to throw them aside and take to the 
flannel again. There is a great deal of sickness among 
the white soldiers; the colored ones stand the climate 
and diet better. The garrison is composed of one-half 
black troops. There are about one hundred and sev- 
enty prisoners here at this time; out of this number 
there are not more than thirty whites, the balance are 
negroes. I have no other news worthy of mention. 
Your affectionate husband, 

Samuei< Mudd. 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, June 30, 1866. 
My darling Frank: 

In looking over my daily summary I find that dur- 
ing the present month I have written to you on the 
following dates, viz: the 3d, 7th, loth, 13th, 17th, 
2 1 St, and 24th, besides three or four in the latter 
part of May. Several mails have arrived without 
bringing any news from any one. I do not complain, 
but merely make mention in order that you may know 
when I last received a letter. I have exhausted in 
those letters all the language I had at command, ex- 
pressive of my longing desire to be with you, and bitter 

Nature does not tolerate an excess in anything 
without a corresponding reaction. There is a positive 
and negative to every question and thought — an equi- 
librium must be kept up, and is essentially necessary 
to the healthy or natural performance of every ma- 
terial and immaterial act ; being lost, destruction either 
ensues or things fail to be comprehended in their sen- 
sible and rational form. I believe I am philosophizing, 
but all that I wish to be understood is, that suffering is 
just as natural to follow a sudden fading away of 
bright hopes, as day, night. 

I am now composed, and feel somewhat like my 
former self, determined and resolute, and will likely 
remain so until shaken by a repetition of insidious 
and insinuating intelligence, having only the tendency 
to confuse, inspire doubt and irregularity of the mind, 
which many of you so well understand. Try and do 
not deceive me again; if you know nothing positive, 
have the resolution to tell me so. I can appreciate 
your love and anxiety in my regard, and fear you have 
concealed the true nature of affairs, lest it might cause 
me pain. How different have I acted toward you. I 
have never failed to give you, as far as in my power, 


a true condition of my health, treatment, etc., so that 
your mind might be prepared even for the worst. 

We have received the Baltimore Weekly Sun of the 
i6th and Gazette of the 19th. I have seen an extract 
of Harris's speech made in Congress and some 
sketches taken from the report of Dr. Craben upon 
the treatment, etc., of Jeff Davis. If you can obtain 
these in full, you will much oblige by sending at your 
earliest opportunity. I expect nothing will be done 
toward our relief until after the adjournment of 
Congress. I am in my usual health. I am truly in 
hopes Ma's health has improved ere this. Tell 
Tommy and Sammy that Papa had a dream that he 
was down in the "swamp" and enjoyed a hearty laugh 
at their race after the little fishes. How much I de- 
sire to see you all. Write soon, give me all current 
news, and believe me most affectionately. 

Your husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, July 20, 1866. 
My darling Frank : 

Owing to stormy weather, we have not had an ar- 
rival of mail for several days. To-day two steamers 
came into port, one a gunboat, the other a transport, 
and the mail schooner is just in sight. This is some- 
thing unusual, and you can't imagine how hopeful I 
have been the past few minutes. One of the steam- 
ers has just come to the wharf bringing some thirty 
odd additional prisoners from New Orleans and sur- 
rounding (Gulf) Military District. The gunboat is 
anchored out and has just landed a boat crew with 
four naval officers; they have marched to headquar- 
ters, I suppose to confer with the General Command- 
ant. I am inquiring every minute, yet have not heard 
so much as a rumor. The schooner has just come in, 


bringing no mail ; this throws a gloom over me — it will 
now be a week or ten days before the next arrival. I 
have just heard that there are twenty released prison- 
ers, this exciting my envy, and caused the query, 
"When, oh! when will my time come?" 

I suppose the public mind is too much engaged with 
the affairs of Congress to entertain the subject at 
present. How anxiously I have been waiting for them 
to adjourn, and cease unsettling the country. I have 
now finished giving you all the news that has trans- 
pired since I last wrote, which was on the 13th. I 
wrote Fannie a short note in the same, and sent her 
some moss-cards. I wrote to Sissy on the 12th. You 
write so seldom (about twice a month) and give so 
little news, I find it difficult to say much, or to comply 
with a former desire of yours, viz : to write long let- 
ters. You never think to give me any of the neighbor- 
hood news. I desired, in a letter some time ago, to 
know what disposition was made of John T. Hardy's 
place, and whether any other farms had changed 
hands? Beyond births and deaths, you never men- 
tion anything. Generally your letters are short, and 
so careless and indifferently written that I sometimes 
imagine that you only wish to keep up the forms, and 
have something to swear by. I have one or two let- 
ters which I could neither read nor understand. 
Words were spelled backwards, and sometimes a 
whole syllable left out. That which I could not make 
out, I am not able to state what was wanting. I am 
partly resolved for the future, to write no letters, only 
in answer to those I receive. I cannot impart any 
comfort to you by writing so often, nor relieve myself 
from misery that ever attends. You must not think 
I am in a pet or in anger; on the contrary, I feel in 
better spirits at this moment than for several months 
past, consequently, better disposed to unload my breast 


of what has existed for some time. You must not be- 
lieve me so unreasonable as to expect you always to . 
convey hopeful intelligence; to the reverse, I have de- 
sired you to say nothing on the subject of my release, 
unless you had positive facts, and prudence did not 
forbid its revelation. My darling Frank, for the fu- 
ture, do not let the subject of my release cause you 
the slightest uneasiness or trouble. What can't be 
helped must be borne, contented or otherwise. I can't 
bring myself to believe my stay will be much longer 

For the want of reading matter, I have the past 
week overhauled all my correspondence, commencing 
from the earliest to the latest date after my unfortu- 
nate landing at this place. I have been led like a child 
beginning to walk, with the difference that the child 
always succeeds in reaching a neighboring chair with 
a struggle. 

My darling Frank, my sweet wife, how anxious I 
am to see you all. My heart at times almost bursts, 
and feels as if it would leap from my breast. Know- 
ing this, I am in hopes you will bear up bravely, and 
remain steadfast for my sake, and for the good of 
our precious little ones. There is no sacrifice under 
heaven that I would not make to see and be with you 
again as in days gone by. 

Hoping the time of our cruel separation is close at 
hand, and that we will be again happy united in bonds 
of double love and matrimonial accord, I am, my dar- 
ling Frank, 

Your faithful and devoted husband, 

SamuEi, Mudd. 



Headquarters Military Division of the Gulf, 

New Orleans, July 21, 1866. 
My dear Friend : 

Your kind note of July 12 has come to hand, and 
gives me great pleasure to hear from you. I will 
write to General Foster to subject Dr. Mudd to only 
such punishment as is warranted by the condition of 
his sentence. 

Should I visit Washington, it will give me great 
pleasure to pay my respects to you, and to renew to 
you my bond of love and reverence. I am. 
Your obedient servant, 

Phie Sheridan, 
Major General. 
To Rev. N. S. Young, 

St. Dominick's Church, 

St. Dominick's Church, Washington, D. C, 

July 26th, 1866. 
Mr. H. L. Mudd [father of Dr. Saml. A. Mudd]. 

My dear Friend: I send you this letter from Gen- 
eral Phil Sheridan, hoping it may give you all some 
consolation to learn that your dear son. Dr. Mudd's 
condition will be ameliorated. I wrote to General 
Sheridan to obtain for him at least this compassion. 
I told him that you and the Doctor's family were my 
particular friends. As soon as you can, let the Dr. 


know the promise General Sheridan has made me; 
and ask him to inform you if General Poster has exe- 
cuted that promise. 

I am sorry that your heart is yet afflicted by the con- 
tinued bad health of your good wife. You will be re- 
signed, I am sure, under all your great trials. They 
are intended by our good God to prepare us for a bet- 
ter life and add to our crown of glory. If possible, 
I shall pay you a visit soon, and once more have the 
happiness of offering up for you and your good fam- 
ily the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar. 

Give my kindest respects and remembrance to each 
one of your family, and that God may bless you all 
is the prayer of 

Your sincere friend, etc., 

N. S. Young. 

Fort Jefferson, Florida, July 26, 1866. 
My darling Frank : 

I received yours of the loth this morning. The 
boat will return to Key West in a short time, so I 
can't say much. With all my exertions, I have not 
been able to crawl from my present locality. Yet the 
mind with hopes, as in a dream, was carried from one 
period to another, and apparently when in the act of 
taking my flight to Heaven, and dreading to look 
back, fearing the fate of the wife of poor old Lot, all 
vanished as smoke, and the same dread reality ex- 

Bright beams begin again to lend their light, and I 
have been induced to believe, with the visitation of 
cholera upon the city of "magnificent distances" and 
crime, a scatteration might be produced, and give our 
worthy Chief Magistrate a chance to look into my 
case, and purge it from the foul suspicions placed upon 
my unsuspecting shoulders, although he will be un- 


able to repair the injury. Every dollar the nation is 
worth is insufficient to that end. 

I am very sorry, my dai^ling Frank, I can't be moi e 
entertaining; be not offended with my criticism or 
resolutions, expressed in the foregoing. I forgot to 
credit you with the burdens and cares of our darling 
little children and family, and the distraction that they 
naturally produce. Write as often as inclination and 
freedom from the restraint of family will permit. I 
can't ask more. I can write every day, and it would 
be an agreeable pastime, but there would be no op- 
portunity of mailing, nor would it be necessary; but 
I never fail to comply with my promise to write by 
every mail that leaves this place. If you write often, 
I will always have a letter to answer, which will be far 
more agreeable and pleasant. 

I shall be content until after Congress adjourns; 
after that, I shall be anxious, and look for some de- 
cided action to be taken by you and my friends; 
otherwise, I will give up all hopes of ever leaving this 
place alive, and live only to curse my enemies, as I 
will merely remark that I perceive not the slightest 
change in the character of your letters; it is another 
put off, another child's play — to play and torment and 
vex me. I will now proceed to give you plainly what 
I mean by child's play, viz: It was three months be- 
fore Christmas that I had the happiness of dining 
with you on that festive day, then you had hired a 
servant who would remain until the spring (three 
months longer). I had the duty of supplying her 
place. Now, my darling Frank, what a splendid din- 
ner! What delicacies, etc.! Don't I enjoy myself? 
Then how I was favored in finding such a neat, tidy 
and active servant for you. The spider could no 
longer spin his silken cords unharmed, etc. The 
President's proclamation appears in April. May, 


sweet May would be the consummation of all my 
earthly joys. I would be treated to green grass, and 
dipped into some health-restoring fountain. In a 
word, I would be transplanted to Elysium. Now, do 
you remember how I floated through the aerial vapors, 
resting in placid dreams upon the bubbling clouds and 
visiting the moon? Venus would attend me. The 
decision of the Supreme Court is made public, this is 
what has been looked for all the time. I am released 
from hell and summoned to heaven, but held by ter- 
rible Mars. Poor old Achilles, shot in the heel ! Un- 
forgetful mother! why didst thou not turn and dip 
the other end? Now I have a feast of three months 
longer. My darling Frank, I have grown weary of 
these delights ; cease, for God's sake, if not for mine, 
extending the time. The "first of September," "two 
or three months longer," "be patient," etc., are expres- 
sions of yours, and seem only moments in your 
thoughts of the future; but they excite my calcula- 
tions, and cause the days, hours, and minutes to be 
counted, whereas, if you said nothing, since you know 
nothing, the time might pass by and be forgotten. 
Don't, my sweet wife, write any more in this loose 
style. Let me know whether you are sick or well, and 
the health of all home ones, the neighborhood arid 
farming afifairs, etc. I am not so anxious about re- 
lease, so long as I know you are well and content, but 
I dislike being treated as a child. I am far less de- 
sirous about release now than I was some time ago. 
Fifteen months of the most brutal and degrading im- 
prisonment has done its work. I am broken down 
and good for nothing. You spoke of turning gray — 
I am nearly bald. 

In reading the papers, I perceive nothing clearer 
than the near approach of anarchy. I feel sorry for 


you and our dear little children, but for myself my ene- 
mies have done all the harm they can do me, and death 
would only free me from a greater misery. I hope 
they may meet with the chastisement their crimes de- 
serve, in this world, as a warning to future genera- 
tions. The inspired volume reminds us of Retributive 
Justice, and those need fear who have perjured, cal- 
umniated and endeavored to reform the divine laws, 
and remodel His works. 

I have my usual health. We have three sentries 
within ten feet of our door that cry out the hours of 
the night at the pitch of their voices, which awakens 
us and destroys all sleep. This is a recent change and 
an aggravation. I have no news. The mail we re- 
ceived to-day is the only mail we have received of this 
month's news. I received Mr. Harris's speech, and 
two Sun papers from you. You need not bother your- 
self in sending the Sun, as we get it regularly; one 
of our members being a subscriber; also the Gazette. 
Comments from other papers, you can send. 

Give my love to all home ones, present my kindest 
thanks to Mr. Best for his true devotion to self and 
family. Your devoted husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, August 6, 1866. 
My darling Frank: 

I wrote to you last on the 26th and 30th of July. 
Mails arrive quite seldom now, owing, I understand, 
to quarantine regulations. One of the mail boats ar- 
rived here this morning, although bringing no mail. 
She will leave this evening at 6 o'clock. To relieve 
you of fear in my regard, I post these few hasty lines 
to acquaint you with the fact that I am in possession 
of my usual health and spirits. I am more afflicted 
when I think of you and our dear little children, know- 


ing how dependent you must be, and how incapable 
you are to provide for self and family without the in- 
tervention of kind friends. Your burdens and re- 
sponsibilities will increase daily, and you must sum up 
all your resolution and courage to brave misfortune. 
Instruct and educate the children as well as you can; 
be gentle, kind and positive, enforce obedience and re- 
spect now whilst they are young, and when they grow 
older they will not give you trouble and cause shame. 
You can promise yourself nothing certain in this 
world, therefore do not act on the idea that I will soon 
be home, and that it will be unnecessary for you to 
observe duties that it would be my place to attend to. 
Should I be favored with an immediate release, I fear 
I shall lack the strength, for a considerable time, to 
perform the least labor. 

In appearance I have not much changed. I am told 
I am growing fat, and seem a picture of health; ap- 
pearances deceive, and my legs have to work terribly 
to get the body along. Begin now, my darling Frank, 
to act as if you expected nothing, only what was to 
be accomplished through your own exertions, and you 
will not sufifer the pain of disappointment, nor lack the 
energy when it is most needed. Give my love to all, 
write soon, and believe me as ever, 

Your fond and affectionate husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, August 9, 1866. 
My darling Frank : 

The papers give full accounts of the proceedings of 
the National Convention, and the President's procla- 
mation restoring all the States to all their former priv- 
ileges, which with the promise contained in your let- 
ter relieves me of all doubt regarding a much longer 
separation. I now hail with delight the thought of 


soon being in the fond embrace of you and our little 
ones, sharing with you, to the extent of my ability, the 
blessings and privations of life in this miserable world. 
We are still under close guard. There is a sheriff 
at Key West. Should you get out a writ, it may be 
well to know the fact; but according to the learned 
counsel in the recent habeas corpus case at Charleston, 
we are in the hands of the President, and you will have 
to bring action against him. I am sorry to involve 
expense, which I know you cannot meet without the 
intervention of kind friends. Steamers pass here al- 
most daily on their way to New Orleans, and other 
points on the Gulf, and it would be attended with but 
little delay to one of those to stop and take us off. By 
acting with the friends of my roommates, it would 
make the expense much lighter. A message could be 
sent per telegraph to New Orleans giving direction 
and instructions to competent parties, thus excluding 
the necessity of sending a party down from home. 
This will be my last letter. Give my love to all. 
Your affectionate husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, August 13, 1866. 
My precious Wife: 

I received yours of the 20th and 28th of July on 
the loth. I was sorry to hear of our little Tommy's 
indisposition. I am in hopes it will soon pass away, 
and be my fortune to realize your expectations. You 
spoke of the murder of Mr. Lyles, and the papers 
mention the robbery of Mr. Posey. Owing to their 
proximity to you, I have suffered some alarm, know- 
ing your timid nature and unprotected and helpless 
condition. Such crimes, and far more brutal, are of 
daily occurrence, and when far away hardly excite 
our horrors; so soon does the mind become familiar 


by their daily narration through the press. I think 
it advisable for the citizens to take measures of pre- 
caution, by appointing suitable officers in every dis- 
trict to inquire into the condition and purpose of every 
suspicious party. These atrocities are only the fruit 
of the late unnatural strife, and we can only blame the 
fanatical majority of Congress for their long continu- 
ance. Congress by its action has rather favored than 
imposed the needed restraints upon these horrid 

I rejoice to see the noble response of the people in 
behalf of the President's policy, the influence of which 
response, I am led to believe, will soon induce him to 
exert his constitutional prerogative and issue a proc- 
lamation of amnesty restoring to all the States their 
original rights and privileges. Much, though, depends 
upon the harmony of the Philadelphia Convention 
which meets to-morrow. The cholera prevailing there 
will, I fear, prevent a full attendance. 

You seem to manifest some uneasiness on my ac- 
count, apprehending the injurious effects of the heat 
upon my feeble constitution. In this regard I must 
remark that the climate being more moist and equable, 
is not liable to the evil and depressing effects, as with 
you. Heat in the sun here is very great, yet rarely at- 
tended with "sun stroke" ; no fatal case from this 
cause having occurred since I have been here. When- 
ever there is a breeze, which is generally the case, it is 
always pleasant. A strict eye is kept to the cleanli- 
ness of the place, and being remote from the main 
land, we have no fears of any infectious or epidemic 
disease. Unsuitable diet, beef, pork, etc., are more 
frequent causes of disorders and disease than locality 
or climate. We stand in need of a vegetable and fruit 
diet, of which this place is woefully deficient. My 
strength and general health have improved within the 


past week or two. With suitable diet and proper ex- 
ercise, I feel that I would soon be my former self 
again. Allow yourself no unnecessary uneasiness. I 
have more fear concerning habits contracted by an 
unavoidable indolence than I have of speedy dissolu- 
tion by organic or infectious diesase. Mails arrive 
now very seldom, being seventeen days between the 
last two. Give my love to dear Ma, Pa, and the fam- 

I wrote to Jere some days ago and enclosed a note 
to you. We have money enough to supply our wants 
for some time to come, so give yourself no uneasiness 
on this point. I am truly delighted to know that your 
crops are looking well, and promise a fruitful yield. 
In Fannie's last she spoke rather discouragingly of the 
prospects of the crops. 

Kiss all our dear little children, and wishing you a 
pleasant and successful trip to Washington, I am, my 
darling Frank, as ever, 

Your devoted husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, August i8, 1866. 
My dearest Cousin: 

I received your last a week or two ago. Being like 
yourself, without anything likely to interest, I delayed 
writing until the present, hoping for something to 
turn up, whereby I might be furnished with a theme; 
but the same old monotony continues to exist, etc. The 
fear that you may think your kind letters are not prop- 
erly reciprocated, prompts me at least to an acknowl- 
edgment. Instead of a lack of appreciation, I value 
your letters more than all the rest of my correspond- 
ents, because you do not appear to disguise the true 
nature of affairs, and lead me contrary to the expec- 
tations of my friends — thereby, causing the time to 


pass more observed, suspense more painful, and in the 
end, the blight of disappointment. 

You asked me if I did not feel honored at seeing 
my name so often mentioned and commented upon in 
the "public prints." I assure you, so far from exciting 
rny pride, it creates in my heart only feelings of indig- 
nation. The greatest honor they can show me is to 
release me ; until this is consummated, I shall consider 
their time, ink, and paper thrown away, and all they 
can say as empty. I am truly in hopes that what has 
been said will be the means of directing public opinion 
to the great wrong perpetrated upon my personal 
rights as an American citizen, and that the outrage 
will not be suffered much longer to continue. 

We were visited the first week in July last by Father 
Clauriel (a little Frenchman) from Savannah, Ga. I 
had the consolation of going to confession, and receiv- 
ing holy communion on the 8th. 

My health is much better now than some two or 
three weeks ago. I attribute the change to the kind- 
ness of the officials in giving us a plank floor to our 
sleeping quarters. Up to a late period we were upon 
a dirty floor, which was very wet and damp all the 
time. After every rain, our quarters leak terribly, 
and it's not unusual to dip up from the floor ten and 
twelve large buckets of water daily. We have a hole 
dug in the floor and little trenches cut, so as to con- 
centrate the aqueous secretion, which facilitates the 
dipping up process and freeing the room from noxious 

Having nothing more worthy at my command, I 
send you a small collection of moss-cards — ten small 
and one large intended for a wreath. I regret my bad 
taste, manipulation, and paper. Should I be so fort- 
unate as to have an early release, I shall endeavor to 
procure a large assortment of shells, etc., considered 


curiosities with you, which I will present you with, 
should you desire them. They cost us nothing here, 
and if you wish them, let me know in your next, and 
if any particular variety. 

Present my kindest regards to Sister M. and the 
rest of the saintly members of your association. 

Hoping a continuation of your prayerful supplica- 
tion, and to hear again from you soon, I am most 
truly and sincerely. 

Your cousin, etc., 

Samu^i, a. Mudd. 
To Sr. Joseph. [Carmelite Convent, Baltimore, Md.J 

Fort Jefferson, Florida, August 20, 1866. 
My darling Frank: 

I am now feeling perfectly well, and improved in 
health and flesh, which I attribute to the laying of a 
plank floor in our quarters. My hair has also taken 
new life, and in a short time will have a thick suit, 
even where it was most thin. I am entirely without 
news of importance. The mails arrive now about once 
in three weeks, and in the interim nearly every one 
becomes cross and peevish. The mail boats, I under- 
stand, are not allowed to enter the port of Havana 
from this place without undergoing quarantine regu- 
lation, which causes the delay. The health of the Post 
remains remarkably good, no epidemic or infectious 
disease having made its appearance. The principal 
disorders arise, I think, from the use of stale and salt 
diet. We never use it, consequently remain exempt. 
I have not touched a piece of salt beef or pork for nine 
or ten months. 

Don't let this letter cause you uneasiness; for the 
future confide in none but the most honest and reliable. 
You need not reply to it, if prudence forbids. I fear 
injury to my cause has resulted from matters being 


made too public. You do wrong also, I fear, in com- 
municating with Cousin Ann, and in mentioning the 
names of parties. Very often they do not like to be 
known, and often take offense. Be guarded, my dar- 
ling child, how you act in the future. Use discretion, 
and don't depend too much on your own judgment. 
My soul is tired of this place beyond expression — do 
nothing that may tend to prolong my exile. How 
unxiously I am waiting for the arrival of the prom- 
ised release ! Act immediately. I don't see that any- 
thing can be gained by delay, for the courts, in the 
course of time, are bound to release us. Let me have 
at least an honest exposition of my case before the 

Give my love to Pa, Ma, and all the family, and ac- 
cept the most endearing sentiments of the heart of 
your afflicted and distressed husband, 


Fort Jefferson, August 22, 1866. 
My darling Frank: 

I wrote to you on the loth, 13th, and 20th, oppor- 
tunity presenting. I again avail myself of this only 
pleasure, indulging with you a short pen and ink con- 
fab. By the time this reaches you, the first of Sep- 
tember will be at hand, and with it the promise of a 
speedy "homeward bound," as fast as steam and sail 
can bring me, your long-lost and desolate exiled; or 
will he be again doomed to disappointment? I can't 
bring myself to believe those in authority will much 
longer disregard every principle of justice and fair 
dealing to satisfy vulgar thirst for vengeance. The 
Government certainly is aware by this time of the un- 
precedented number of false and perjured witnesses, 
and by no action being taken to bring these scoundrels 
to account, an invitation is indirectly given to these 


and every plotter against the lives and liberty of their 
fellow-men to continue, and come forward with their 
mendacious yarns for monied and party considera- 
tion. I am firmly convinced, by circumstances, that 
men were bought to give false testimony. Those in 
authority, in their zeal to find out the originators, ac- 
tors, and accomplices, offered enormous rewards for 
evidence, and the apprehension and conviction of the 
parties. This alone was a sufficient inducement to the 
unscrupulous, who were adroit enough to frame a 
plausible tale, to make "merchandise" of the most sa- 
cred right and duty of man, his oath. For God's sake 
lose no time in bringing this subject before the Presi- 
dent. No matter how he decides (pro or con), I shall 
be happy to have the sanction of his authority. 

The report of the Judiciary Committee favors the 
trial of Davis upon the false and frivolous charges 
which were adduced upon our trial in connection with 
the assassination. With equal justice inight every 
distiller of whiskey be arraigned and tried for all the 
crimes committed by its abuse, and every man be at 
the mercy of an enemy capable of writing him a ficti- 
tious letter. I have read nearly all the charges made 
by this committee against Davis, and I can't see for 
my life the least shadow of evidence to connect him 
with the infamous deed — which circumstances alone 
are sufficient to refute, independent of the unreliability 
of the testimony. Arnold's letter, upon which they 
built the conspiracy, shows conclusively that up to a 
late period in March, 1865, Booth had no connection 
with the Richmond authorities, or their Canadian 
agents. This letter and his statement, which the Gov- 
ernment has never made public, is worth all the evi- 
dence brought forward by the prosecution, so far as 
showing the motive and intention of the parties. I 
believe sincerely there are parties at the head of the 


different departments of the Government who delight 
in human affliction and suffering, especially when they 
can by any pretext prosper their own, or their party's 
cause. I cannot view the conduct of Judge Holt other- 
wise; his attempt through a parcel of false and per- 
jured statements, to bring public opinion to bear upon 
my case, after the trial was over, and when I had no 
power to rebut, shows his animus and is unpardonable 
for one occupying his position. I am ignorant of the 
laws, but certainly this act does not appear to me like 
justice. It is hard to suffer without the consciousness 
of having committed the least wrong, and with full 
knowledge of the foul and unfair means resorted to 
to bring it about. I am almost driven to desperation 
when I reflect upon the outrages I have already en- 
dured and continue to suffer. You will please impart 
the subject of this letter to my counsel and friends that 
they may determine and act immediately. 

I am feeling quite strong again. We have, through 
the kindness of ofificials, a plank floor placed in our 
quarters, which renders it a thousand times more com- 
fortable. Before, we were on the ground, and half 
of the room continually wet from leakage through the 
ceiling. Yesterday a negro accidentally fell over- 
board, and was drowned. There were a large num- 
ber present, and no effort was made to save him. How 
tired I am of this life, and how anxious I am to see 
you and our precious little children, and home ones. 
When you write, do not disguise the truth. I^t me 
know the worst and hope for the best. Answer this 

Give my love to all, and believe me as ever. 
Your devoted husband, 

Sam Mudd. 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, August 23, 1866. 
My darling Frank: 

I have just this moment received yours of the 7th 
and Fannie's of the 2d. I am happy to know that you 
are all living and have thus far escaped greater afflic- 
tions than mere indisposition on the part of our dear 
little pets. It grieves me to hear of Ma's continued 
bad health. Your letter differs on this point essentially 
from Fannie's. God grant she may be spared many 
years yet is my constant prayer. 

I am sorry you vi^ere not able to communicate more 
gladdening tidings after your visit to Washington. I 
suppose it vi^as too early after adjournment, and the 
parties whom you mentioned preferred awaiting the 
action of the Philadelphia Convention, which met on 
the 14th instant, to obtain anything decisive. I regret 
to see so much subserviency on the part of our public 
men, without ideas or mind of their own, but mere 
weathercocks of public opinion. They seem to throw 
law and justice entirely out of the question, and are 
afraid to act only upon what may be public sentiment. 
So much afraid are they that their acts, though strictly 
in conformity to every principle of justice, may be 
used to the detriment of party, they hesitate and post- 
pone action until warranted by circumstances to be- 
lieve that no injury can result to their political ambi- 

Fannie sent me the letters of Father Young and 
General Sheridan. You will present my thanks to Fa- 
ther Young for having through his solicitation, suc- 
ceeded in calling the attention and influence of General 
Sheridan to the grievances under which we suffer. 

We have been under close guard both day and night 
since November last, and no word or act of ours could 
escape the scrutiny of the sentinel. We can't move 
five steps from our door without permission of the 


sergeant of the guard, and followed by the sentry. 
When we, are at work or walking, we can't moi'e 
faster than the guard is disposed to walk himself, so 
you see all running, fast walking, wrestling, etc., is ex- 
cluded. This is now our principal grievance, which has 
been brought about by no word or act of ours. All the 
rest of the prisoners, except those confined to the guard- 
house, are allowed the freedom of the island; we ask 
no more. The only amelioration we have received 
recently is the rendering our quarters more comfort- 
able by a plank floor instead of the former dirt, wet 
and damp. I do not complain of the labor, it is com- 
paratively nothing, but being under guard is a con- 
tinual confinement, or a check to all free exercise. 

By this morning's mail I learn the four recently ar- 
rived prisoners from Charleston will be transferred to 
Fort Delaware, thereby placing them under the oper- 
ation of the writ of habeas corpus. I think it would 
be better on the part of the Government to release 
them at once, than place them where they can effect 
it with a little trouble and expense. Nature provides 
for all its wants, and on that principle alone can I ex- 
plain the peculiarity of my appetite. All articles of 
meat, salt and fresh, are repulsive. I can't bear the 
sight of them. My diet consists principally of mo- 
lasses, when we can get it, butter, canned tomatoes, 
beans, etc. The bread we get is usually very good, 
though at times is very bad. Having little or no duty 
to perform, and no exercise, but little and the light- 
est diet is required to satisfy the wants of nature. 
Gross, heavy diet would, in this climate, and under ex- 
isting circumstances, be highly injurious. I am told 
by all that I am growing fat, yet I do not consume in 
a day as much as one of our little children at one meal. 
With the exception of bread and coffee, we subsist 
ourselves entirely by making little work boxes, picture 


frames, which we shell and inlay with different kinds 
of colors of wood. These command a ready sale to 
visitors, and soldiers of the garrison. Should my stay 
be protracted beyond September, you can write to 
Tom to send me a box, as everything is very high 
at the post sutler's. I am very well and hopeful. 



Fort Jefferson, Florida, August 31, 1866. 
My darling Frank : 

The last letters received were Fannie's of the 2d and 
yours of the 7th of August. I am very well. No news 
worthy of interest. The mail leaves in a short time, 
so I have no time to say more. I wrote to you last on 
the 22d and 23d of August, and made known to you 
then all that was desirable on my part. I have no 
further request to make, but hope sincerely this may 
be the last tidings you may have from me in the shape 
of a letter from this place. The Fort has been unusu- 
ally healthy thus far. Remember me to Mr. Best, and 
tell him not to expose himself, in securing the crops, 

Give my love to all, and pray for your disconsolate 

S. A. MuDD. 

Fort Jefferson, Florida, September 3d, 1866. 
My dear Tom : 

I have been truly anxious to hear from you for some 
time. I have been led to believe the whole South ex- 
terminated, or reduced to abject slavery, until news 
of the recent riot reached us. I am grieved at the oc- 
currence, the loss of valuable lives, but proud to know 


there is manhood enough left among the people to re- 
buke the oppression of the interventionists. 

The mail will leave in a few minutes, so I have 
barely time to tell that I am well and continue to hope 
for an early release. Why don't you write to me 
sometimes? You do not say in any of your short 
notes with whom you are engaged in business, or speak 
concerning any of our old relations and friends. 
Write occasionally and send me papers that may con- 
tain matters of interest. The last intelligence I had 
from home was from Frank dated August 7. Jere 
seldom writes, and when he does, never gives any 
neighborhood news, consequently I am ignorant of 
what is transpiring outside of this miserable place. 

Write soon and give all news. Remember me to 
all relatives and friends, and believe me most truly, 
Your brother, etc., 


Fort Jefiferson, October 11, 1866. 
My darling Frank : 

Yours of the 14th of September, also a box and 
thirty dollars from Tom has been received. 

I regret to hear of your troubles and our afflicted 
little children. You ask counsel upon the subject of 
my release (this is done, I suppose, to make delay 
plausible). You know that I am unable to give 
advice, being unacquainted with the difficulties and 

Fearing my silence might be misconstrued, you see 
I have again written, though contrary to previous re- 
solves. I am well. Give my love tO' all, kiss our 
darling little ones, and answer. 

Your devoted husband, 

Samuei* M. 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, October 14, 1866. 
My darling Frank: 

I received to-day yours of September 24 expressing 
some fears as to the statement in some paper regarding 
me. I received word also from the General, inform- 
ing me of the reception of a letter from you, inquiring 
into the truth of the matter. I am sorry you should 
have been misled by so apparent a fabrication. I am 
very well and my health much better than some time 

Parties who are given to lying and suborning per- 
jury to sustain their own wicked preconceived ideas, 
can easily invent a malicious newspaper report. For 
the future, give yourself no uneasiness concerning 
what may be said by newspapers. I wrote to you on 
the 9th and 24th of September and the nth of Oc- 
tober. These letters will reach you, though contain- 
ing no denial (as I was not aware of the He), and it 
will be evident that no such outrage has taken place. 

Tell Jere to try and find out from whence this 
infamous report originated. I can scarcely credit the 
idea that it came from this place, although I do not 
know the animus of those around me, having had no 
conversation nor disposition, since I have been so 
falsely and inhumanly represented and treated. 



Fort Jefferson, October 28, 1866. 
My dear Jere : 

Except by indirect allusion of others, it has been a 
long time since I have heard from you. Time has 
already falsified the predictions which they gave upon 
your authority, and it has seemed to me "you picked 
the stones for others to throw" — but enough, I must be 
short. The time intervening between this and the 


assembling of next Congress is growing quite short, 
and the indications are that there will be a stormy time 
between the President and the majority. Should mat- 
ters be prolonged until that period, I shall give up all 
hope, for the excitement consequent will be plead an 
excuse for further delay and continuing the outrage, 
against me, of all law, justice and humanity. Neither 
the President nor Congress will assume the responsi- 
bility to release, and I shall be here a living sacrifice to 
the damnable ends of party. 

I saw something in the papers some time ago 
intimating that a memorial was being gotten up by my 
friends, and would be presented to the President, on his 
return from the West, for my release. A considerable 
time has elapsed since, and I have not heard a single 
word in reference. I am truly desirous of knowing 
something definite in regard to my future fate, or what 
may be the pleasure of the Government. 

An order came by the last mail to send on the names 
of all those who have been here six months, except the 
state prisoners (meaning us), and those who are here 
upon the charge of murder, arson, and rape. We are 
the only prisoners that are styled state prisoners. 
Why is this ? Let me know in your next. 

Hoping you will not let this (only) auspicious 
moment mentioned above pass disregarded, and that 
you will let me hear from you immediately upon the 
receipt of this, I am. 

Most truly your brother, 

Samueiv M. 

Fort Jefiferson, October 30, 1866. 
My darling Frank : 

I wrote you last on the 25th, also by the same mail 
to Cecie and Cousin Ann. I wrote yesterday to Jere, 


■ - ■. ' ■■■- - ■*. 

and made known to him all my desires. You had 
better in future consult him in reference to all domestic 
affairs, and act agreeably to his judgment. I have 
but little means of ascertaining the many difficulties and 
embarrassments under which you have to contend, 
therefore, incompetent to form an opinion. 

I view actions more than I do words. What con- 
cerns me most, seems nobody's business, and I am fast 
losing all forbearance under the cruel and unwarranted 
oppression to which I am subjected, the result of a 
tyrannical and unjustifiable usurpation. I have been 
over eighteen months languishing in prison for no 
crime against God or man that I am cognizant of, and 
I think it high time the friends of humanity and law, 
particularly my own personal friends and relations, 
were coming to the rescue. I don't believe any good 
will come of the party or nation that will tolerate such 
injustice ; sooner or later they will meet with the same 
judgment and chastisement they mete to others. 

For the future try not to deceive me by representa- 
tions from others. The six weeks and the two months 
have passed, and I am still here a victim to the folly of 
the nation. Do not let me lose confidence in you, do 
not throw stones which others have picked. 

Jere was kind enough to give you this information 
perhaps for your own satisfaction. He told Cousin 
Ann the same, yet he has not written one word in 
regard to me. Does not this look contradictory, and 
that he intended to deceive me through you and others ? 

The Court refuses to try Davis agreeably to appoint- 
ment, and it is quite uncertain whether they will meet 
at the regular term in November; if so, their judg- 
ment upon the trial of civilians by court martial will 
continue to remain unfiled, also upon the test oath 
question. I am unable to surmise, having had no in- 
formation from any of my friends, and only such news 


as I have been able to glean from a lying and 
infamous press. 

Let me know at your earliest convenience what has 
been done favorable, or otherwise. Let me know the 
whole truth, if prudent, otherwise it will not be neces- 
sary to mention the subject. I would rather be in 
complete ignorance than have the reliance of mere con- 
jecture. Write soon and give all neighboring and 
farming news. 

Sincerely hoping this may be my last letter, and that 
our present afflictions are near at an end, I Ijid you a 
hopeful adieu, 



prison ufe in 1866, continued — plans for my 
father's reI/Ease by habeas corpus proceed- 

Fort Jefferson, Florida, November 3, 1866. 
My dear Jere : 

Colonel Grenfel handed me a letter he received 
to-day from A. J. Peeler, a lawyer in Tallahassee, 
Florida, who intends acting in his case immediately. 
It seems to me, if you have to resort to law for my 
release, this would be the least expensive and most 
expeditious medium. He has promised to act for the 
Colonel free of charge, requiring only the actual ex- 
pense attendant. With a small amount from each of 
us interested parties, to pay for trouble, etc., he would 
no doubt be pleased to undertake our case. The Col- 
onel also received a letter from B. T. Johnson, Rich- 
mond, Va., promising to do all in his power toward 
his release. I have hastily written to acquaint you 
with the above, thinking the information might be 
desirable at this time. If you conclude to act through 
him, you can address, or perhaps telegraph, A. J. 
Peeler's law office in the South Western Railroad 
Bank Building, Tallahassee, Florida. I wrote to you 
a few days ago. Remember me to all kind friends and 
inquirers. Your brother, etc., 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, November 5, 1866. 
My darling Frank : 

I received on the 13th instant yours of the 19th of 
October, and Fannie's of the i8th. I am truly sorry 


to hear that you continue to suffer with your ankle 
from erysipelas, and that you felt aggravated at the 
tone of a former letter. Try to be more prudent for 
the future, and see that you are entirely well before 
you venture much exercise. I must confess I wrote 
too precipitately, and without weighing the effect my 
language and resolution might have. The truth is, 
your letters were generally so hopeful and cheerful, 
always directing my attention to some period when I 
might, with confidence, expect something to be done 
toward effecting my release, — which invariably ended 
in disappointment, — I had become as a child whose 
brightest anticipations had been raised to the highest 
pitch, experiencing the sudden ebullitions of dissatis- 
faction. Time is fast proving how unfounded were 
your hopes, and how unnecessary it was to communi- 
cate the same to me. I am sure I would have been 
spared many hours of anxiety and watching. My 
fate is made to rest unjustly upon public opinion, and 
judging from the tone of the press, and the signs of 
the times, another delay is not improbable. Then, 
how foolish it was to lead me on. I am the subject 
of every political caprice and whim, and cannot expect 
speedy relief from my present degradation and suffer- 
ing. I feel no inclination to criticise, but it does not 
seem to me that the President is consistent with his 
oft-repeated declarations and earnest solicitations to 
the people to return to the Constitution of our fathers, 
and conform to its spirit and requirements. How 
essential it is to the inculcation of the precept, "to 
remove the beam from your own eye before attempting 
the mote in your neighbor's." It is no wish of mine 
to frustrate the efforts of the President in his attempts 
at restoration, but I do object most strenuously to be 
made to suffer for the sake of some political expedient. 
As I am subject to the pleasure of the President, it 


seems to me a demand ought and should be made upon 
him, and that I should not be put to unnecessary ex- 
pense, being here contrary to law and every instinct 
of justice. I am told by you and Fannie to be patient. 
You may as well, under the circumstances, tell the 
ocean to be calm in a storm. Having to submit to 
the vilest slavery ever allotted to man, unheard, is 
sufficient to destroy all humanity, did not the little 
Christianity I possess come to the rescue. I never 
before could bring myself to believe that men occupy- 
ing positions of honor, influence, and power could 
become so innocently affiliated with liars and scoun- 
drels; yet with the acknowledgment of the fact, no 
investigation is made in regard to my case, where even 
the evidence itself against me bears the impress of 
untruth without any other refutation. I am growing 
daily more impatient. I feel that I am an American 
citizen and entitled to the protection which the Consti- 
tution and laws guarantee. I must now conclude. 
Your fond and devoted husband, 


November 19, 1866. 
Dear Frank : 

Knowing your great anxiety to hear from me, I write 
to let you know I have been in consultation with Mr. 
Reverdy Johnson and his son-in-law, Mr. Ridgely. 
Mr. Johnson has promised to superintend and instruct, 
but could not do the necessary work in getting up the 
law or preparing papers. I had a long interview with 
Mr. Ridgely this evening. He says he must have 
time to examine every point, and consult Mr. Johnson, 
as it is a case of great importance, not only to the 
Doctor and his friends, but to the lawyer also who has 
it in charge. He will see Mr. Johnson to-night, and 
they will be able to-morrow to give their opinion. He 


will charge two hundred and fifty dollars ($250) to 
prepare the papers, go to Washington, and swear out 
the writ, and if it has to be argued before Judge 
Chase, will charge two hundred and fifty dollars 
($250) more, making five hundred dollars ($500). 
As soon as I get matters thoroughly arranged, I will 
write or come down. Before this reaches you, we will 
have to decide what course to pursue, so keep a brave 
heart, and, with the blessing of Providence, I trust all 
will soon be well. Your brother, 


Baltimore, December 7, 1866. 
Dear Frank: 

I want day and date of the following questions : 
Let me know when and where Sam was first arrested, 
the date he was taken to Washington and where first 
in prison— was it the old Capitol or Carroll Prison ? — - 
by whose order he was first arrested and imprisoned, 
and by whom held? If you have a copy of the 
charges served on him, send it to me, not the book of 
evidence or Ewing's argument, — I have them, — but 
just the specific charges. Let me know the full name 
of the officer in charge of Fort Jefferson. I think you 
have the note from Colonel Wells or Hancock, request- 
ing him to report to Washington. Be particular and 
give dates as near as possible. I will go to Washing- 
ton to-morrow, and will probably get part of the infor- 
mation asked of you. We are doing all we can, and 
will probably have the papers prepared by Thursday, 
or as soon as we can get the information necessary to 
base our petition on before the court. 

I will be down as soon as I get this matter off hand. 
I would come instead of writing, but would have to 
return next day, which would make my visit too short. 
I will be down on Saturday next if possible. Mr. 


Ridgely will have to go to the Law Department for 
some orders and papers covering the Military Court, 
and if they find out his object, may put some difficulty 
in the way. 

I received a letter from Sam yesterday, very short 
and urging something be done in his case. He is very 
well; letter dated loth of November. Get Henry to 
assist you in giving the information asked and any 
other you may think of. If it is any service, I can 
use it, if not, it will do no harm. 

Hoping you and the children are enjoying good 
health, I am. Your brother, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, December 7, 1866. 
My darling Frank: 

I have written to you to-day a long letter, and 
having nothing more worthy, I send you enclosed two 
large moss-cards, a cross, and a wreath as a Christmas 
gift. I am afraid they will be much disfigured by 
folding and the rough usage of the mails, etc. They 
were pressed by myself. I devote a great deal of my 
leisure to pressing moss for the want of a more suit- 
able employment, which acts as a diversion to my 
thoughts, a pastime and a profit. Tell little Tommy, 
Papa sent him one to pay for the rosebud received 
some time ago. I had to cut the paper to make it 
small enough for the envelope. You can paste a piece 
around to make it fit in a frame. A likeness can also 
be put within the wreath. Should these arrive in good 
condition, and you desire more, let me know, and I 
will send you more by the same means. Bear up 
bravely against present adversity, and I am in hopes 
it will not be long before we are restored to each other 
by a merciful Providence. I have not much hope of 


its taking place during the session of Congress. The 
time for action was permitted to go by. 

Your loving husband, 


Washington, December 17, 1866. 
My dear Mrs. Mudd: 

The Supreme Court of the United States this morn- 
ing gave an opinion which must secure the liberation 
of your husband. I have before spoken to you of the 
case, and the opinion should have been delivered last 
winter when the case was decided, but was deferred 
until the present session. I have been unwilling at 
any time to say anything to you that might induce 
hopes which, if disappointed, would only increase your 
suffering; and preferred to wait until I could myself 
see the light before I told you there was light, and I 
am now most happy that I can say to you that I think 
the case is settled, and your husband must be speedily 
released from his most unjust confinement. 

Deeply sympathizing with you in your long suffer- 
ing, and congratulating you sincerely upon the pros- 
pect of its termination, I remain, with great respect. 

Yours truly, 

R. T. Merrick. 

Fort Jefferson, Florida, December 30, 1866. 
My darhng Frank: 

We are just in receipt of the box sent by friends of 
0'I/)ughlin. The articles all came safely to hand 
and perfectly sound. They are just in time for New 
Year's, and are considered quite a treat. I also re- 
ceived yours of December 7, written with your usual 
hopeful spirit ; not hearing anything from those better 
informed, gives but little consolation. The papers 
make mention of the decision of the Supreme Court; 


— ' ' — ■ ■ ■ ■■ I— . — - ^ 

this surely must have some effect in loosening the 
reins of power. 

Christmas has passed, and with it the usual dull 
routine of the military. Nothing occurred to divert 
our minds from the disagreeable reflection of our 
present situation, and regrets of the past. I am in 
hopes you have spent a more cheerful one with our 
dear little children, alone, hearing their innocent jokes 
and merry prattle. I know you enjoy a feast that 
serves to blot out from memory many unpleasant 
recollections, and drown all other cares for the time 
being at least ; with me reigned the gloomy thought of 
hopes deferred. In imagination, I am sometimes car- 
ried back to scenes of the past, and indulge in a pleas- 
ant smile at the little oddities and sayings of you and 
our dear little ones, to be succeeded in turn by the 
depressing one of an unhappy reality. 

We have made application to the Secretary of War, 
through General Hill, giving many valid reasons for 
our removal to some Northern prison. I am in hopes 
it may prove unnecessary, and that we may be released 
through the medium of the recent decision of the 
Supreme Court. God grant it may not be much 
longer deferred. 

I wrote to you November 26th, December ist, 7th, 
I2th and 22d. 

Your devoted husband, 




Fort Jefferson, Florida, January 15, 1867. 
My darling Frank : 

I received on the 12th yours of December 31, also 
papers as late as January 3, containing the decision of 
the Supreme Court, which fully covers our case, and 
the denial of Judge Chase of the writ of habeas cor- 
pus in my case. 

It is vexatious to see how partial the laws are made 
applicable and administered. Milligan was tried 
during the existence of active war. His case is de- 
dared illegal. We were tried after the war, and 
peace declared. If the trial of Milligan was wrong, 
certainly ours was more so, and no necessity can be 
pleaded in palliation. 

The chief point of difference in the Court was as to 
the powers of Congress, which did not involve in the 
least the illegality of our trial and conviction. The 
question upon which they did not coincide seems en- 
tirely a constitutional one, from which both the citizen 
and soldier derive all their rights. I don't understand 
why application should be made to Judge Chase in 
preference to any other judge. From the partisan 
course which he has pursued for the past two years, 
prejudice alone, I am afraid, would be sufficient to 
influence him to a denial of the benefit of the laws to 
those of an opposite opinion. 

The "writ" should be served on the Secretary of 
War or the President, and not upon the Commander 
of this post. General Hill said to one of the prisoners 


a few days ago, that if the writ were served on him he 
would not take the responsibiHty of acceding to the 
demand. So you see that, notwithstanding the de- 
cision of the Supreme Court, the highest tribunal in 
the land, I am still a prisoner in the hands of the Presi- 
dent and his honorable Secretary of War, serving their 

The arrival of Surratt will be the advent of a new 
excitement, and the reiteration of every species of lie 
and slander which were given currency at our trial and 
subsequently, and serve as a pretext to continue my 
unlawful and unjust imprisonment. Be slow to credit 
the wild, loose newspaper articles. 

The weather has been cold and pleasant up to a day 
or two past. It is now growing warm and uncom- 
fortable. We have a garden in the center of the Fort, 
the soil or surface of which has been brought from the 
mainland. It is now luxuriant with all kinds of vege- 
tables that have been planted — ^beets, peas, tomatoes, 
beans, radishes, etc. The few trees we have never 
lose their foliage and the cocoanut, the only tree bear- 
ing, always with its peculiar fruit. The flowers that 
are cultivated are always in bloom. We have one or 
two little caged song-birds that enliven the island with 
occasional merry notes. 

Your devoted husband, 


The Surratt referred to by my father in the 
above letter was John H. Surratt, one of the 
alleged "conspirators." He was, at the time of 
the assassination of President Lincoln, a 
young man who had barely reached his ma- 
jority. When he learned of the assassination 
he was in Elmira, New York, where he had 


been sent by the Secret Service Bureau of the 
Confederate Government. 

The day after the assassination a reward of 
$25,000 was offered by the United States Gov- 
ernment for the capture of Surratt, dead or 
aHve. He escaped into Canada, and was se- 
creted five months in Quebec. From that city 
he took passage on a steamer for London. 
Subsequently he made his way to Rome, where 
he enlisted, under an assumed name, in the 
Papal Guards. When his identity was dis- 
covered he was, by order of Pope Pius IX, ar- 
rested and cast into prison. He succeeded in 
escaping, and after experiencing many vicis- 
situdes, finally reached Alexandria, in Egypt. 

Here he was arrested and handed over to the 
United States authorities. He was brought to 
Washington, and after much delay was tried 
before a jury in the Criminal Court of the Dis- 
trict of Columbia, his trial lasting sixty-two 
days. The jury disagreed and were dis- 
charged. Surratt was subsequently admitted 
to bail, but his case was never again brought 
to trial. 

Baltimore, January 17, 1867. 
Mrs. Dr. Mudd. 

My dear Madam: Yours of the 6th instant came 
duly to hand. I have not seen the resolution you 
spoke of, but do not see how it can affect Dr. Mudd's 
case. I have never abandoned the hope of yet getting 
him released, and think I will now make application to 
the judges of the courts of the District of Columbia. 


I think it advisable, however, to wait awhile, but will 
confer with Mr. Reverdy Johnson on the subject. 
Very faithfully yours, 

Andrew Steritt RidgeivY. 

Fort Jefferson, Florida, January 23, 1867. 
My darling Frank : 

As the mail will go out in a few minutes, I have but 
barely time to say I am as well as usual, and desire 
my remembrance to all. Your letters arrive very 
seldom. Yours of the 31st of December has been re- 
ceived. The hopes it created were immediately 
blasted, on perusing the paper received the same day. 
I am rejoiced, however, to know that something has 
been done, though fruitless. 

It is plain, since the decision of the Court, that I am 
only held by armed hand, and in spite of law. I could 
ask nothing more final and complete than the decision 
in question, yet I am uncertain of the period when its 
benefits will accrue. I wrote to you on the 15th, and 
addressed the letter to Jere. He will forward as soon 
as received. 

Hoping to hear something more definite shortly, 
which will have the tendency to shorten our unhappy 
separation, I am as ever, truly and affectionately. 
Your devoted husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, February 6, 1867. 
My darling Frank : 

I wrote to you a few days ago, I believe on the 28th 
of January. 

I am becoming discouraged to continue my frequent 
correspondence, finding the interval growing so long 
between your very short epistles. I am also begin- 
ning to think there was but little calculation or penetra- 


tion, on the part of those who had the management of 
my case, to have impressed you so erroneously. Mat- 
ters, I fear, have assumed a more compHcated nature in 
consequence. I am in hopes the sober thought of the 
people will not sustain the ultra and unconstitutional 
legislation of Congress. 

I am well. The weather again becoming very 
warm, I fear the return of the distressing symptoms 
which I enumerated in some of my letters last year. 
We continue to be under close guard, and allowed but 
little exercise. 

Inquire and let me know whether it would be advis- 
able for us to make application for removal North, 
through General Hill to the War Department. We 
have had no priest here in his official capacity since last 
July. A young priest stopped here on his way to 
Key West two or three weeks ago. I did not learn 
his name. He said he would pay us a visit in the 
course of a few weeks. Good-by, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, February 14, 1867. 
My darling Frank : 

Yours of the 28th of January, and Jere's of the 29th, 
have come to hand. You and Jere, though instructed 
by able counsel, seem no better informed than myself, 
and I have had only access to newspapers. Judging 
from papers, the old ship of state is adrift, floating 
without a rudder, without a captain, and they threaten 
to throw overboard the chief engineer, the President. 

The Constitution and the decision of the supreme 
tribunal of the land seem completely overlooked and 
passed by unnoticed. They now threaten to impeach 
the President without the legally required court: all 
the States. When these bounds are passed, God only 
knows and can judge the finality of their proceedings. 


I fail to perceive and conjecture anything favorable. 
I cannot yet look forward to any period with certainty. 
In the mean time, I am making myself as content as 
circumstances will permit. My health has continued 
unusually good through the winter up to this time; 
God grant I may be spared another summer here. I 
weighed a few days ago one hundred and forty-five, 
which is only a few pounds short of my usual weight. 
Put in practice your own preaching, — be patient, be 
prudent, etc. Under our present hard lot I have an 
innate feeling that tells me the time of our cruel sepa- 
ration will not be much longer deferred. How much 
I have desired to be with the children catching snow- 
birds, and enjoy with you their delight of triumph. 
We are yet under close guard, and I am afraid I will 
become so accustomed to this life, I will naturally look 
for the guard to accompany me on all occasions, when 
it shall please Providence and the head of the en- 
lightened American nation to release me. 

Your disconsolate husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, February 20, 1867. 
My darling Frank : 

I did not receive yours of January 6, until yester- 
day — being considerably over a month on the way. I 
wrote to you on the 14th and Jere on the i6th. I have 
nothing new, nor additional requests to make. My 
health continues about the same — suffering an indispo- 
sition occasionally with the change of weather. 

You need not bother about sending anything for 
the future unless I request it. I am well supplied 
with clothing — other necessaries I will be able to obtain 
through my own exertions. 

I have had my occupation changed to that of the 
carpenter's shop, which affords me more exercise and 


a greater diversion to my thoughts. I occupy my 
time principally in making little boxes, ornamenting 
them with different colors and varieties of wood. 

The mail will close in an hour's time, so I must close 
by desiring my kindest remembrance to all. 

Your faithful and devoted husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, February 26, 1867. 
My dear Jere : 

When I wrote last, I forgot to name the fact that 
Fort Jefferson and Key West had been made separate 
divisions, with the Commander stationed at the latter. 
General Hill will, therefore, in a short time take up his 
quarters at that place. 

Could you be assured that a "writ" would be 
accepted, the change renders the accomplishment of 
matters more easy and expeditious, for all the neces- 
sary authorities you need command of are there. 
Here, there is no civil law or authority, and no means 
whereby you could command an audience with the 
Commander should he be disposed not to grant it. 

You said in case other measures failed, "you would 
send a lawyer to Florida." Unless you were confident 
of the result, I think it would be only loss of time and 
expense without recompense. I mentioned in a former 
letter the remark that was made to one of our number, 
and I suppose it would be applicable to myself, that 
if a "writ" was served upon him, he (the Commander) 
would not assume the responsibility of yielding to the 

My attention has been called to the legislation going 

on in Congress, having the tendency to thwart the 

execution of the plain decision of the Supreme Court 

upon the test oath ; if so, it will be used as a precedent 



by other courts relative to its judgment upon the 
legality of trials of civilians by court martial. Please 
inform me plainly upon all these points, and the bear- 
ing they are likely to assume. I am growing weary of 
perplexities arising from the many constructions of 
public acts. 

The action of Congress seems ex post facto, which is 
clearly unconstitutional; but will it not delay and 
necessarily cause our cases to be specially brought 
before the Court to be disposed of, not permitting the 
recent judgment of the Supreme Court to be a finality ? 

The mail leaves in a short time, consequently I must 
close. Your brother^ 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, March 5, 1867. 
My darling Frank : 

Yours of February 12th reached me this morning, 
bringing me the desired news of all well and hearty. 
You gave expression to despondency, and asked for 
something cheering and consoling from me. How 
willing this would be accorded were it in my power, 
even the sacrifice of this miserable life, could it be of 
benefit to you and our little ones. 

By referring me to the newspapers for information 
regarding my situation, you seem no better ac- 
quainted than myself with the difficulties in the way of 
my release. The altered relation which you appre- 
hend will take place with the marriage of Jere, is very 
natural. It will be impossible for him to extend his 
former love, care and attention, and to this extent, my 
darling Frank, is the principal source of your gloom 
and anxiety. When I think of your dependent state, 
the trials, inconveniences, and sufiferings you have to 
endure, my heart bleeds and my soul seems ready to 
leap from this tenement of clay, and rush to the aid 


and comfort of you and all ; but, alas ! how impotent 
are all my efforts, and how incapable of affording you 
and our little ones assistance at no distant day, — ^a 
hope that would enable me to bear with more resigna- 
tion the grievous trials to which I have been subjected. 
I am debarred from all friends and advisers, being yet 
under close guard, not allowed to hold conversation 
with any one outside of my immediate roommates. 
How then is it possible for me to form any idea of the 
future, or to extend to you any hope of our speedy 
union? I have naturally looked to you and Jere for 
information and hope, but in vain, to receive anything 

Jere has written but seldom, and when he did, I 
could arrive no nearer the truth than before. 

We have received papers up to the 23d instant. 
They make mention of the arrival of Surratt, and his 
being surrendered to the civil authorities. I am in 
hopes his trial will be speedy and impartial, and have 
the effect to clear away many of the mists that sur- 
round the tragic affair and lead to my early release 
from this place of exile and misery, and our once more 
happy union. To this end, my darling Frank, are all 
my fondest anticipations centered. Be patient, be 
prudent; in a word, be a good child, and let nothing 
occur that will tend to mar the pleasure and happiness 
of which we mutually dream, and God, upon whose 
justice and mercy I rely, will not permit a much longer 
delay. When you informed me in a previous letter 
that Jere and M. C. were to be married, I was truly in 
hopes I would be home in time to wish them in person 
a joyous union, and more happiness than has fallen to 
our lot. It now devolves upon you to perform this 
both pleasing and gloomy duty. 

I wrote to Mr. Stone on the ist of December last 
and directed the letter to Washington, D. C.-, thinking 


he would take his seat in the recent Congress ; it was 
returned to me yesterday. I suppose he takes his seat 
to-day by the new arrangement. Seek advice and 
counsel from him and Mr. Ewing and see whether 
something can't be effected through the Legislative 
Department, the Judicial and the Executive having 
failed. General Hill is of the opinion that, as soon as 
Surratt arrives, the Government would send for us; 
God grant his prediction may prove true. 

Try and find out from Mr. Ridgely when he intends 
taking further action, and what hopes he has of suc- 
cess. There seems to be no mode of redress except 
through Congress, and they appear to have shut up 
the portals of felicity, both human and divine, and 
thrown away the key. Let me know at what time he 
thinks he will be able to succeed. You have made 
many guesses when I would be home, which has only 
the effect to increase my misery; but try once more 
and see how near you can approximate the truth. If 
it is one, two, three or four months, or the same num- 
ber of years, give me the views of counsel. Cut out 
of the papers all the proceedings in the trial of Surratt 
as they appear, and send to me by mail. 

Your devoted husband, 


Baltimore, March 6, 1867. 
Dear Frank : 

This is the first opportunity I have had of writing 
you since my return. 

I have been to Ridgely's office twice since my return 
to see him ; the first day he was in Washington ; he is 
now in New York, but expected back to-morrow. I 
will see him as soon as he returns and let you know the 
result of my interview. You may rest assured I will 
do everything in my power to procure Sam's release. 


Ford, the proprietor of the theater, has promised to 
go with me. He says he is determined to leave noth- 
ing undone that can be done to have Spangler released, 
if it costs him five thousand dollars. 

I received a letter from Sam yesterday. He re- 
ceived my letter, but, poor fellow, he can't understand 
why it is Johnson does not act under the decision of 
the Supreme Court. He seems to think he ought to 
do it, even at the risk of being impeached. I wrote to 
him to-day and will mail his letter with this. I wrote 
him fully, and explained everything to him as far as I 
was capable. I would send you his letter with this, 
but left it up at the house. 

Your brother, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, March ii, 1867. 
My darling Frank: 

General Hill left here on the 8th to take up his 
quarters permanently at Key West. These two posts 
having been made a separate district, you can inform 
Jere of the fact should it be of any importance to him. 
He said in his last letter that in case other measures 
failed, he would send a lawyer to Florida. I know 
not the situation of affairs, but from what I can judge 
of the legislation of Congress, all measures of redress 
have been cut off by that body. I wrote to Hon. 
Reverdy Johnson on the subject on the 8th, and de- 
sire! his opinion of the matter. I want to be satisfied 
one way or the other ; suspense is wearisome. 

I suppose the trial of Surratt will be used now as 
an excuse for delay in my case, upon the part of the 
lawyers you have employed. Can't it be arranged to 
have me tried with him ? Let me know what is being 
done; I want prospects of success when you write; 
also let me know when the trial of Surratt will come 


off. I have written this quite hastily on account of 
being in time for the outgoing mail. 

Your devoted husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, March 25, 1867. 
My darling frank: 

I received yours of February 28th a few days ago. 
I am glad you have resolved on more frequent corres- 
pondence. You say you feel "miserable" when you do 
not hear from me regularly. This might be doubted 
if the number of your epistles implies anything. At 
no period have I permitted three weeks to escape 
without writing, yet with you it has not been unusual. 
I am but one, you are many. My soul is wrapped up 
in you all, and yet not divided. If you feel gloomy 
and uneasy on my account, how much more so must I 
feel for you, as you are the greatest number, and none 
of us are exempt from the accidents of life, etc. 

I am sorry matters still assume no different shape. 
You remarked that Mr. Ridgely would repair to 
Florida as soon as Judge Wayne entered upon his 
judicial functions in that district. You did not state 
the time it would take place, but led me to infer it 
would be shortly by saying you would not await the 
trial of Surratt, which the newspapers represent as 
going on now. Try always to be explicit, and never 
speak of a thing in contemplation without giving some 
idea of the time. 

Should Surratt have a speedy and impartial trial, I 
have more hopes from its result than from everything 
else, for I know it is bound to lead to my entire excul- 
pation, and it will be impossible for those in power to 
hold me against the will of an enlightened public. 

I wrote to Mr. Johnson on the 8th of the present 
month, and directed the letter to Washington. Should 


Congress adjourn, he will likely not receive it, as he 
will return to Baltimore. You will please notify Jere 
of this fact. The letter I wrote to Stone was returned 
to me. I believe he was a member of the last Con- 
gress. Your husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, April 5, 1867. 
My darling Frank : 

Would I could be so hopeful as you express. View- 
ing the situation of affairs by the public press of the 
country, the days of the Republic have passed, super- 
seded by the sad reality of a military despotism. I 
feel often animated in spirit as those brave Cretes who, 
sooner than surrender victims to their enemies, blew 
up the castle and perished with their cruel and despotic 
foes who had pursued them thither. The South is 
certainly placed under no debt of gratitude. 

The post-office at this place has been broken up for 
some reason not accounted for. Our letters, therefore, 
will be likely post-marked for the future from Key 
West. You will, of course, direct your letters to rrie 
as formerly. 

The mail leaves in a few minutes, consequently can't 
say much more. The priest from Key West arrived 
here yesterday. I have not yet spoken to him, but will 
do so as soon as practicable. 

The papers record the death of Judge Turner of the 
War Department, Bureau of Military Injustice. I 
have no reason to lament the occurrence. It was in 
his power to refute that unjust and slanderous state- 
ment appended to the court martial proceedings with 
Judge Holt's approval. Since he was so notoriously 
unjust toward me in suppressing the truth or fabri- 
cating a falsehood, it is fair to presume he was guilty 
of all, or many of the misrepresentations and distor- 


tions of fact in regard to myself, Davis, and others. 
The cause of his death is said to be apoplexy, but more 
likely poison by his own hands. The fate of a guilty 
conscience. I am still in my usual health. 

Your devoted husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, April 13, 1867. 
My darling Frank : 

I wrote to you on the 5th instant, and gave all par- 
ticulars of health, etc., up to that date. Having noth- 
ing additional, and not having received any tidings 
from any one since, you can't expect a very extended 

I have heard nothing from Jere since his return to 
Baltimore. I suppose he has nothing cheering to com- 
municate, and concluded not to write. 

General Butler has brought something new to light 
in reference to our trial, Booth's diary, which was 
never heard of before. "When rogues fall out, honest 
men get their dues," is fully exemplified in this in- 
stance; but the most astonishing part of the matter 
is my retention here in spite of all these developments 
of foul play and rascality. It has been intimated there 
is something more yet unknown to the world ; you will 
please let me know fully when you write again. 

I have heard nothing of Surratt's trial having com- 
menced. I fear it will be as predicted. He will be 
kept in prison until perhaps he dies before any trial be 
given him, — like Davis, — and the delay be made an 
excuse to protract my imprisonment. 

I went to confession and communion on the 8th. 
The name of the priest is Father Allard, a French Ca- 
nadian ; speaks English very imperfectly. He is quite 
young. I am sorry I can't write more interestingly. 
My health has been unusually good up to the present. 


Do not give yourself any uneasiness about my fare, 
etc. We can supply our few wants by making little 
boxes, frames, etc., which are in great demand. To- 
day we contributed to the Southern Relief Fair at Key 
West little articles, which were worth to us over sev- 
enty-five dollars. Our work-boxes sell readily at 
twenty-five and thirty cents apiece. 

Your devoted husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, April i6, 1867. 
My dear Tom [T. O. Dyer, New Orleans] : 

A favorable opportunity presenting, I avail myself 
to let you hear more directly from me. I have written 
you on several occasions, but have never received a re- 
ply in acknowledgment, consequently fear you do not 
get them. 

Mr. Waters has kindly consented to take this to you 
in person and present my best wishes for you and all 
our kind relatives. Waters has just been released, 
having been sent here for shooting a negro prisoner, 
in discharge of his duty while in the Confederate ser- 
vice, and for which the Federal authorities had no 
right to take cognizance. His case though is only one 
of the many thousand unlawful acts which they have 
committed, and still continue, upon a brave and de- 
fenseless people. You see, notwithstanding the dis- 
closures made by Butler in Congress a few days ago, 
and the charge made by Frank Blair of a similar na- 
ture, no investigation is made or permitted. My sym- 
pathies increase rather than diminish when I consider 
the unjust, tyrannical, humiliating exactions and meas- 
ures demanded of a defenseless people. A day of 
reckoning surely will come, but I fear too late for the 
present generation to bear witness of an offended God 
and justice. 


The last letter received from Frank was dated March 
19th. At that time they were all well. Surratt's trial 
was expected to come off in the present month, and it 
was believed we would be sent for by the Government, 
to be tried again in conjunction. We are here yet, 
and have very little hope of this small boon being of- 
fered us. The cause of the Government is too weak 
to expect to gain any advantage, therefore we expect 
to remain here so long as the Government is in the 
hands of its present occupants. I send you a verbal 
message by the bearer. If you can, prudently, let me 
hear from you in regard. 

Colonel St. Ledger Grenfel is kept in close confine- 
ment under guard. A few days ago, being sick, he 
applied to the doctor of the Post for medical attention, 
which he was refused, and he was ordered to work. 
Feeling himself unable to move about, he refused. 
He was then ordered to carry a ball until further or- 
ders, which he likewise refused. He was then tied up 
for half a day, and still refusing, he was taken to one 
of the wharves, thrown overboard with a rope at- 
tached, and ducked; being able to keep himself above 
water, a fifty pound weight was attached to his feet. 
Grenfel is an old man, about sixty. He has never re- 
fused to do work which he was able to perform, but 
they demanded more than he felt able, and he wisely 
refused. They could not conquer him, and he is doing 
now that which he never objected doing. 

Remember me to all, and believe me most truly 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, April 25, 1867. 
My darling Frank : 

I received to-day yours of the loth, also the Weekly 
Sun of the 13th. We used to get the Gazette, but T 


suppose the subscription has run out. I wrote to you 
last on the nth and 15th of April, and to Cousin Ann 
on the 20th. I wrote to you also on the 20th, but the 
officer, whose duty it is to inspect, had not time to ex- 
amine, consequently it did not go. 

Tell Ma, Pa, and family I do not write because I 
have nothing to engross their attention, and nothing 
cheering and hopeful to give them consolation. I 
could only give them a picture of my woes, without the 
requisite knowledge to impart for their redress, which 
would only add to their discomfort, consequently re- 
main silent, acting on the principle, "when ignorance 
is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise." Again I have been so 
credulous as to believe something would be done 
through the instrumentality of the lawyers engaged, 
that caused me to look anxiously from day to day for 
the arrival of the steamer that would bear me gladly 
to you all, and did not think it necessary to write. 

I am truly glad to hear you are satisfied with the 
darkies engaged on the farm. Tell Bap. I say to pay 
his whole attention to the farm, and do not run about 
looking up little jobs, and he will succeed well. Should 
he desire any carpenter work, he will find a plenty on 
the farm, for which, should it be in my power, I will 
amply compensate him. 

A good corn-house is very much needed, also a barn 
or pen-house for tobacco. At his leisure he could get 
out the material for them, and leave it to some compe- 
tent party to estimate value, and take it from rent or 
otherwise. General Hill, I understand, will leave in a 
short time for Washington on a furlough or leave of 
absence. This Post is now in command of Major 
Stone. He arrived here this morning from Key West. 
It has been rumored here for several days that all the 
prisoners at this place would be taken to Ship Island. 

The number of prisoners is now about forty-five, in- 


eluding both black and white. I have not been able to 
trace this rumor to any reliable source. How much I 
desire to see and be with you all. It was three weeks 
between our last letters. Good-by. 

Your devoted husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, May ii, 1867. 
My darling Frank : 

It will not be in my power to write you at this time 
as long a letter as I desire. The mail will leave in the 
course of an hour, so I must hurry to be in time to 
have it examined previous to mailing. I was too late 
the last mail, consequently did not get off the letter I 
had written, so the last letter I wrote to you was dated 
the 2Sth of April, the interval being much longer than 
I generally suffer to pass. 

Do not forget to see dear Papa and extend to him 
whatever comfort you can. Tell him to give himself 
no uneasiness on my account — not worry himself too 
much about me and your affairs, etc. I fear he suffers 
more from mental perplexities, resulting from the con- 
dition of the country and domestic affairs. Thank 
him, my darling Frank, in my name, for his ever kind 
attention and parental solicitude toward us and the 
dear little ones, and to consider that whenever I write 
to you or any of the family, it is as much to himself 
and Ma. Advise him not to read the newspaper for a 
little while, and see whether he receives advantage 
from the abstinence. I received yesterday a package 
of newspapers from Tom, and a box. I have not yet 
received the box or invoice of articles, etc. 

Hoping this may find you and all the family in the 
enjoyment of health, etc., I am. 

Your loving husband, 



"somebody HAD TO SUFEER." 

Fort Jefferson, Florida, May 25, 1867. 
My darling Frank : 

The papers mention the release of Davis under bail, 
without trial. This truly seems strange to me. I feel 
confident they will not try Surratt, but postpone from 
time to time until finally released, the Government or 
the prosecution not appearing against him. Rage has 
become impotent; the bloodthirsty wretches, feeling 
no longer security in their demon pursuits, have 
shrunk away into ignominious nothingness, or are cry- 
ing under the weight of a guilty conscience. I can't 
see what Surratt's case has to do with me — it is only 
an excuse or put off. How strangely justice is admin- 
istered in this enlightened nineteenth century. None 
believed a few years ago that a corporal's guard could 
be mustered throughout the country to carry out the 
atrocious measures now heaped upon a helpless and de- 
fenseless people, but it seems there is never lack of 
means to the ends of vile purposes. I am afraid I may 
say too much, and in consequence you may fail to hear 
from me, so I will postpone all expressions of opinion 
until I can see it will be of some avail. I am entirely 
without news of interest. 

The report of the committee appointed to inquire 
into the condition, etc., of the penitentiary of the State, 
gives a gloomy exhibit of the depravity and increase of 
crime among the recent "emancipated." Laws made 


corrective and milder for that class of our population 
called down upon the State and people the virtuous 
indignation of the immaculate Congress. It has now 
in its pride and presumption absorbed all the powers 
of the Government, Legislative, Judicial and Execu- 
tive — not governed even by the laws of God, only so 
far as appears righteous to them. They would dictate 
to God Almighty himself sooner than acknowledge the 
error of the position they have assumed. Write soon 
and often. Give me all the news of the neighborhood 
and answer all my little queries. 

Your husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, June 3, 1867. 
My darling Frank : 

The month of June, you will perceive by the above 
date, has been ushered in with all its glory and sun- 
shine, and the promised release of your most discon- 
solate yet in futiiro. Mail came on the first. I received 
no letter, nor the papers which you subscribed for. 

I have seen the copy of Booth's diary. I can see no 
reason for its being withheld from the Court which 
convicted us ; on the contrary, it goes to confirm the 
statement of those who participated with him, or who 
were confederates. It shows clearly that I could have 
had no knowledge of the deed, and would have tended 
had it been before the Court, to establish my innocence. 
I shall leave the whole matter with you and friends to 
be dealt with agreeable to your best judgment. 

I am curious to know what offense will be set up by 
the Government in Surratt's case. I am very much 
afraid the trial will meet with another postponement 
so that they can urge a longer continuance of my exile 
on this account. Our country seems a complete mob- 
ocracy instead of a Government of law and order. 


The President does not feel warranted in the execu- 
tion of his plainest duties under the Constitution with- 
out first consulting the mob spirit. I am well, though 
growing exceedingly weary of the continued usurpa- 
tion. Could I perceive that the Government had the 
slightest shadow of suspicion against me, I could feel 
perhaps more resigned; but take the whole evidence 
and circumstances adduced on trial, and no court of 
justice, it seems to me, could fail establishing my en- 
tire innocence. I remarked this to Judge Turner on 
my way to this place, when he remarked that some- 
body had to suffer, and it was just as well that I should 
as anybody else. This I believe was as good an answer 
as he could make, but I could not see the justice. I 
have written very hastily in order to be in time for the 
outgoing mail. 

For God's sake urge action on the part of those en- 
trusted with the care of my case. Davis has been set 
free, and Surratt, once regarded as his prime agent, 
seems now without a charge against him, and here am 
I, having suffered the tortures of the damned, without 
one word of rebuke to those who have caused all — and 
without pity, sympathy, or consolation from an en- 
lightened public. Try and give me some definite news 
in your next. 

Hoping this may find you all in health, I am, as ever, 
fondly and devotedly. 

Your husband, 


"Booth's Diary," referred to by my father in 
the above letter, was found in a pocket of the 
clothing Booth wore at the time he was shot 
and killed by Sergeant Corbett. The "Diary" 
was offered and read in evidence at the trial of 
John H. Surratt. It was not pvit in evidence at 


the trial of the alleged "conspirators" before 
the Military Commission, although it was in 
the possession of Secretary of War Stanton. 
It is as follows : 

"Te amo." 
April 13, 14, Friday, the Ides. 

Until to-day nothing was ever thought of sacrificing 
to our country's wrongs. For six months we had 
worked to capture. But our cause being almost lost, 
something decisive and great must be done. But its 
failure was owing to others who did not strike for their 
country with a heart. I struck boldly, and not as the 
papers say. I walked with a firm step through a thou- 
sand of his friends; was stopped, but pushed on. A 
colonel was at his side. I shouted sic semper before I 
fired. In jumping, broke my leg. I passed all his 
pickets. Rode sixty miles that night, with the bone of 
my leg tearing the flesh at every jump. 

I can never repent it though we hated to kill. Our 
country owed all our troubles to him, and God simply 
made me the instrument of his punishment. 

The country is not 

April, 1865, 

what is was. This forced Union is not what I have 
loved. I care not what becomes of me. I have no de- 
sire to outlive my country. This night (before the 
deed) I wrote a long article and left it for one of the 
editors of the National Intelligencer, in which I fully 
set forth our reasons for our proceeding. He or the 

gov'r ■ 

Friday 21. 

After being hunted like a dog through swamps, woods, 
and last night being chased by gunboats till I was 
forced tQ retiirn, wet, cold, and starving, witli every 


man's hand against me, I am here in despair. And 
why ? For doing what Brutus was honored for — what 
made Tell a hero. And yet I, for striking down a 
greater tyrant than they ever knew, am looked upon as 
a common cut-throat. My action was purer than either 
of theirs. One hoped to be great. The other had not 
only his country's, but his own wrongs to avenge. I 
hoped for no gain. I knew no private wrong. I struck 
for my country and that alone. A country that 
groaned beneath this tyranny, and prayed for this end, 
and yet now behold the cold hand they extend to me. 
God cannot pardon me if I have done wrong. Yet I 
cannot see my wrong, except in serving a degenerate 
people. The little, the very little, I left behind to clear 
my name, the Government will not allow to be printed. 
So ends all. For my country I have given up all that 
makes life sweet and holy, brought misery upon my 
family, and am sure there is no pardon in the Heaven 
for me, since man condemns me so. I have only heard 
of what has been done (except what I did myself), and 
it fills me with horror. God, try and forgive me, and 
bless my mother. To-night I will once more try the 
river with the intent to cross. Though I have a 
greater desire and almost a mind to return to Wash- 
ington, and in a measure clear my name — which I feel 
I can do. I do not repent the blow I struck. I may 
before my God, but not to man. I think I have done 
well. Though I am abandoned with the curse of Cain 
upon me, when, if the world knew my heart, that one 
blow would have made me great, though I did desire 
no greatness. 

To-night I try to escape these blood-hounds once 
more. Who can read his fate? God's will be done. 

I have too great a soul to die like a criminal. O 
may He, may He spare me that, and let me die bravely. 


I bless the entire world. Have never hated or 
wronged any one. 

This last was not a wrong, unless God deems it so, 
and it's with Him to damn or bless me. And for this 
brave boy with me, who often prays (yes, before and 
since) with a true and sincere heart — was it crime in 
him ? If so, why can he pray the same ? 

I do not wish to shed a drop of blood, but "I must 
fight the course!" 

'Tis all that's left me. 

Fort Jefferson, Florida, June lo, 1867. 
My darling Frank : 

I wrote you on the 3d, more to let you know that I 
still live and remember, than impart news otherwise 
of a consoling character — such must be the nature of 
the present. 

The Tortugas is a desolate group of islands unpro- 
ductive alike of news as well as vegetation. The casual 
arrival of mail affording but little change from the 
usual monotony on account of its rather ancient date. 
We glance hastily over the files of newspapers to see 
what is said having reference to us and what the prog- 
ress made toward restoring the States to their former 
status; this being done, the balance of the paper is 
read with no more interest than the transactions of 
centuries past. Within the past week we had three 
days of storm, cloudy and rainy weather, although 
lending a short respite to the customary dazzling sun- 
shine — the dampness being intense, searches up every 
old rheumatic disposition, penetrates every joint, 
which more than counteracts the enjoyment. To ob- 
viate the evil effects of the dampness I am forced to 


wear constantly flannel or net shirts; though warm, 
I find them more tolerable than the effects of the above 
cause. I attribute my improved health principally to 
their agency. 

I received to-day yours of the 20th of May, and one 
from Sissy of the 15th. I am rejoiced to know that 
you all continue well, and the families healthy. Do 
not lose courage; though my confidence in the hon- 
esty of the generality of man is impaired, my increased 
trust and hope in the Providence and justice of God 
more than repays. I feel that though men may bury 
every- instinct of humanity and stifle every emotion of 
conscience, truth and innocence will be declared and 
made manifest, even if the stones of the earth have to 
rise up as witnesses. Truth and virtue will ever 
shine — then, my darling Frank let us be brave and 
steadfast in all the ways of rectitude, and I feel as- 
sured the time that intervenes between our happy re- 
union, yet though in the unknown future, cannot be 
much longer delayed. 

I must now reluctantly bring my letter to a close, 
and scribble a few lines to Sissy. The mail will leave 
this evening, so if I don't hurry, my letter will not be 
in time for the necessary examination and mailing. 
My health continues good ; occasionally I am depressed 
by the excessive heat. In weight and flesh I am about 
the same as when I left. home. Give yourself no un- 
easiness for the future. Were I home at this moment, 
nothing would tempt me to read a newspaper, for they 
only tend to engender hate, and make the mind fa- 
miliar with crime of every description. Kiss our dar- 
ling little children, train them to obedience and good 
behavior now whilst young, and when they grow 
older, we will be spared the blush of shame at their 
unruly conduct. 


Hoping this may be my last from this barren and 
miserable isle, I am, as ever. 

Your fond and devoted husband, 

Samuei, Mudd. 

Fort Jefferson, Florida, June 15, 1867. 
My darling Frank : 

I have received no letter, nor the Gazette from Jere 
which you said you requested. M. C. perhaps occu- 
pies all his thoughts for the present. 

Should you see Cecie tell her I have no knowledge 
of being reinstated in any position by General Hill, 
nor am I conscious of having received any personal 
kindness or unkindness. We were fed like brutes for 
more than fourteen months, kept in chains over three 
months, and up to the time I left, under close guard 
day and night, and allowed no conversation with any 
one outside the room. We were informed that the 
orders for this treatment emanated from the War De- 
partment. He did promise to send any application 
we should make, with a favorable recommendation to 
the headquarters of his department. So far as I am 
acquainted, all grievances which came under his per- 
sonal observation were redressed, but owing to the 
difficulty of seeing him, much suffering and dissatis- 
faction ensued. 

We made application through his adjutant. Captain 
Van Reed, on two different occasions a short time 
after he assumed command, without meeting with any 
response from the Government, so we concluded to 
bother him no more, and never, to my knowledge, was 
the application renewed until he was ordered to report 
to the Government in person, in answer to a note I 
had addressed. Had we been ordered out and shot, 
it would have been much kinder than the treatment we 
received. We were treated in every respect as the 


most ferocious wild beasts, for which I blame no one 

Your fond and devoted husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, June 23, 1867. 
My darling Frank: 

I see by the papers that Surratt's trial has actually 
commenced, the prosecution endeavoring to obtain a 
verdict consistent with public opinion, apparently re- 
gardless of justice. Public opinion is pretty apt to 
be right, if not misinformed or prejudiced. If the 
prosecution will let the truth be known there would be 
no objection to a verdict consistent with the enlight- 
ened public mind; but this seems remote to their in- 
tention ; "they have given the dog his bad name, and 
he must suffer, right or wrong." Individual charac- 
ter and honor of the nation are at stake, and it would 
be a sacrilege for either to suffer by the decision of 
a petty court and twelve jurymen. I am for the sup- 
port of both, but not at the expense of justice. Judge 
Fisher has granted the prayer of the prosecution, and 
ordered the empaneling of a new jury, which I suppose 
will be the representatives of the personification of the 
public opinion, and will have a verdict in accordance. 

It has been raining very hard off and on for three 
or four days, and our casement, clothing, bedding, and 
wearing apparel became very wet and damp. My 
health continues better than could be expected under 
the circumstances. I am occupied in the quarter- 
master's carpenter shop. I have more annoyance 
from conflicting orders than from the work I have to 
perform. I shall bear patiently until the trial of Sur- 
ratt is over, then if something is not done toward 
freeing me from this hell, I shall grow very sad and 


Write often and acquaint me with the principal 
features of the Surratt trial. 

Your fond husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, June 30, 1867. 
My darling Frank : 

I received, on the 22d instant, yours of the loth, 
bringing the ever glad news of the continued health of 
yourself and all the family. I wrote to you on the 
23d, but owing to some remarks being found objec- 
tionable, my letter was returned. It was then too late 
to write another, the mail leaving immediately after. 
For the future you must excuse brevity. 

Mail arrived here on the 28th bringing New York 
papers up to the 20th. I have not been able to see 
them, but understand, with much satisfaction, that 
the trial of Surratt is progressing, for another ex- 
cuse for delay will be done away with, and perhaps 
may shed some light upon the terrible deed for which 
he is now being tried. 

I sent you a cribbage board in a box containing little 
presents from my roommates to their friends. Let me 
know whether it has been received. I am sorry I had 
nothing more worthy at the time. I had a very nice 
box, which I intended sending to you, but was induced 
to give it to the Southern Relief Fair at Key West. 

I wrote to you on the following dates, viz : April 
5th, 13th and 25th, May 4th, nth, i8th and 25th, 
June 3d, loth, 15th (and 23d which did not go) and 
to-day, 30th. 

Our correspondence is carefully inspected, and letters 
of yours and others may be withheld without my 
knowledge. I acknowledge the receipt of all that come 
to hand. 

The Fort is now commanded by Major Andrews. 


From the slight acquaintance I have had, he seems 
quite a good man. Nearly all the older officers have 
been relieved; the present number seem much kinder 
and better disposed. 

Hoping this may find you and our dear little chil- 
dren in the enjoyment of health etc., I bid you a re- 
luctant adieu. 

Your loving husband, 


Fort Jefiferson, Florida, July 8, 1867. 
My darling Frank : 

Mail arrived yesterday bringing me a letter from 
Cecie, but no news from you or any one at home. I 
have seen the New York papers up to the 27th. The 
trial of Surratt seems to progress slowly. I feel im- 
patient to see its conclusion, and hope something may 
be done to effect our union. 

My health and spirit is much improved, likewise the 
health of the island is excellent — ^very little sickness 
and nothing of an epidemic character. I am entirely 
without news. Write often and give all news correct. 

Your devoted husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, July 14, 1867. 
My darling Frank : 

The mail boat came last night bringing no mail. 
How disappointed I feel at not hearing from you. I 
learn that owing to the quarantine regulations and the 
withdrawal of several steamers from the line, we will 
have mail twice a month. I shall, however, write every 
opportunity, hoping you may possess greater postal 

This Post continues quite healthy, and as far as I 


have been able to ascertain no fatal epidemic prevails 
anywhere on the Gulf coast. I wrote to you on the 
30th of June, and to you and Cecie on the 7th of July. 
If you do not hear from me regularly, you must not 
attribute the cause to my not writing, but to irregular- 
ity of the mail and other causes. You must write reg- 
ularly and acquaint me with all particulars of interest — 
how affairs are progressing on the farm, in the family, 
at Pa's, and the immediate neighborhood. I suppose 
ere this reaches you, the trial of Surratt will have 
ended, and you will be able to give me some idea of 
facts in relation, and whether any action is con- 
templated in regard to what concerns me most — my 
release. If something is not done immediately, I am 
afraid my impatience will get the better of me, and 
I will once more become gloomy and despondent. It 
has been said there is more law than justice; but as 
God is above the Devil, I shall ever be inspired with 

I was visited yesterday by a Captain Dove — resident 
of Washington, and brother, he said, of a Dr. Dove 
residing there. He was aboard of a light-house 
steamer, and may be inspector of light-houses on the 
Gulf Coast. He seemed quite friendly and well dis- 
posed. He said he was with Lieutenant Thomson dur- 
ing the war, who married Miss Mudd of Washington. 
He was well acquainted with John Mudd. I have but 
little desire to make the acquaintance of any one con- 
nected with the Government since being visited with 
such gross wrongs by its unworthy agents. I am 
entirely without news. My health continues good, and 
the treatment we receive more humane than formerly. 

We have been entirely without vegetables of every 
description for a considerable time, and the rations are 
principally salt pork and indifferent bread; we can't 


complain, since soldiers get the same. We often use 
"pusly," which grows around the unfrequented por- 
tions of the Fort, and think it quite palatable. The 
weather has not been so hot this summer as last. 
There are millions of little mosquitoes that are very- 
annoying; bedbugs sometimes get ahead of us. 

Remember me to dear Pa, Ma, and family, and to 
all inquiring friends. Tell our dear little children that 
Papa often thinks of them and dreams of them, and 
they must all pray for him to come home speedily and 
safely. Write me long letters, and give me news 
about all. 

Sincerely trusting this may find you all in the enjoy- 
ment of the blessings of health and free from all want, 
etc., I am, as ever, true and fondly. 

Your devoted husband, 

Sam Mudd. 

Fort Jefferson, Florida, July 27, 1867. 
My darling Frank: 

I received yours of the 30th of June a day or two 
ago, and was delighted to know you were all well. 
The mail arrived this morning bringing us the Weekly 
Sun of the 13th, but no letter. I see mentioned in 
the papers the box of articles sent by us has safely 
come to hand. I sent you a cribbage board, the only 
thing I had on hand at the time. It was quite an 
extemporaneous getting up ; Colonel Hamilton having 
kindly offered to take any articles we desired to send 
North, caused us to bundle up what we had on hand 
at the time and forward with him. The board I sent 
was not completed — there was a drawer intended for 
cards and little pegs. I have been principally engaged 
in such work ever since I have been in the shop. I am 
still employed there, and am becoming quite proficient 


in the use of tools, etc. My health continues as usual — 
good as the majority on the island, which is nothing 
to brag upon. The climate is very debilitating in 
itself — the absence of suitable diet makes it more so. 
The clothing I wear daily is heavier than I wore in 
extreme cold weather at home. I am thin, but feel no 
discomfort from it. I had an opportunity some days 
ago to have my likeness taken, but thought it might 
occasion some injurious strictures and would not have 
it done. I am truly in hopes it will not be long before 
I will be able to present the original, if not the rep- 

The subject that action is now made to hinge upon, 
seems clear, and there is not the least doubt in my 
mind but that the counsel for the defense of Surratt 
will be able to establish his innocence beyond the 
shadow of a doubt, and the wanton butchery of his 
mother. In case of his acquittal, I cannot see upon 
what pretext they can hold me; for had Surratt been 
on the same trial that I was, he would certainly have 
been hung, though innocent — no amount of evidence 
in his favor could have saved him. 

It should be the duty of all good citizens to bring 
those infernal perjurers and suborners to the bar of 
justice, and have meted out to them the punishment 
their crimes deserve — an example should be made of 
them. Lose no time in taking action. From the late- 
ness to which the time has been suffered to extend, 
I am afraid it will be cold weather before I get home, 
or perhaps never, so long as such damnable influences 
are made to operate upon those in authority. 

Remember me to dear Ma, Pa, and family, and be- 
lieve me ever devotedly, 

Your husband, 



Fort Jefferson, Florida, August 9, 1867. 
My darling Frank : 

Mail has just arrived bringing me yours of the I2tli 
and 22nd of July, also a package of intelligence, 
though of an older date. The boat will return in a 
few minutes, so I can barely acknowledge the receipt 
of these kind favors, and let you know I am well. I 
have not yet perused the papers, so am unable to make 
comments. I will write again to-hiorrow and be more 
lengthy. I am glad to know you were so prudent as 
to disregard the letters of DeCue. 

Let me be an after consideration. Be economical 
and provide the best you can with the means at your 
disposal ; this is all the advice I can give off-hand, and 
without much consideration. This is the first oppor- 
tunity I have had to write since the 26th of July. 

Remember me to all, and believe me ever fondly, 
Your husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, August 10, 1867. 
My darling Frank : 

I wrote you a hasty note yesterday, but agreeable 
to promise write again to-day, although I must confess 
I have nothing worthy to communicate. 

You seem desirous to know something about my 
health, fare, looks, and weight. I thought I had satis- 
fied your curiosity on these points previously. Having 
nothing to occupy my pen, I again attempt a descrip- 
tion. My health is not good, but much better than 
formerly. Our fare consists principally of salt pork, 
bread and coffee — fresh beef two or three times in 
every ten days. We had issued yesterday to us, eight 
in number, about a peck of Irish potatoes, the first 


vegetables of any kind since last January, with the 
exception of corn and beans occasionally. 

As regards my looks, being an interested party, I 
might be inclined to flatter; but to answer your in- 
quiry, I must pass a judgment or opinion no matter 
how incompetent, therefore, agreeable to the best esti- 
mate I am capable of forming, my appearance is about 
the same as when I left home, with the exception that 
my hair is considerably thinner, consequently the bald 
head more perceptible, and no doubt larger in circum- 
ference. I have no wrinkles, and wear constantly a 
mustache and goatee. Owing to the peculiarity of my 
skin, and not much exposed to the sun, I am paler or 
fairer than when I left home. I may be a few pounds 
lighter, perhaps about a hundred and forty-four or 
five. My manners about the same, impulsive, etc. 
Generally, have but little to say, but think a great 
deal. I am very weak, though in appearance strong. 
This I think is attributable to the climate and the want 
of free exercise. The rules governing the Fort are 
very rigid and severe, more barbarous than ages by- 
gone — refusing to work or obey an order, is punishable 
with instant death by shooting. 

On the 31st of July, one of the prisoners being crazy 
drunk, noisy, and a little unruly, was shot and killed 
by one of the sentries. Instead of meeting with rebuke, 
the soldier was commended for his conduct. The 
prisoner's name was Winters, alias Lee, belonging to 
the 17th Infantry. He was a very orderly disposed 
man, nothing criminal about him. He was sent here 
for desertion. I don't think Job had greater mis- 
fortunes than have been visited upon us. A day of 
fortune came for him ; the question is, how long shall 
ours be delayed? 

Your devoted husband, 



Monday Morning, August 12, 1867. 
My precious Frank : 

The storm which began yesterday still continues, 
though not quite so furious. A boat is at the wharf 
and will leave with the mail so soon as it subsides, so 
I will avail myself to let you hear from me at the latest 
moment. Exercise a little of that virtue, which has 
been so often recommended to me, toward Mr. Best 
and the darkies — patience. Mr. Best is growing quite 
old, and with bad health it is natural he should be cross 
and a little childish. Try to bear with him until I get 
home, should it be my fortune soon. 

I look upon the resolution passed in Congress some 
days ago, appointing a committee to investigate further 
the assassination, as having the tendency to prolong 
my stay here, though I am in hopes the trial of Surratt 
will shed all the light that may be desired, and will 
end in my speedy return to you. It is useless for me 
to make any comments. I hope to see its conclusion 
the next mail, when I am in hopes I shall be better 
prepared to express myself. Don't lose any time in 
pressing the matter before the President and others in 
authority through your lawyers and friends. Give 
me all particulars in your next concerning the trial. 
Write a long letter and tell Henry to write to me, and 
give me all the news. Above all, try not to deceive 
me ; let me know positively what bearing the trial will 
have upon my case, and when I may expect release 
from this wretched den. My love to all. 
Your fond husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, August 18, 1867. 
My darling Frank: 

A boat arrived this morning from Key West bring- 
ing no mail. She will return in an hour or two. A man 


came from aboard, who visited us fifteen minutes after 
he landed, and who represented himself as a "cor- 
respondent of the New York Herald." He seemed 
anxious to obtain news upon many subjects, but our 
suspicion being aroused, he proved unsuccessful. 
Should you see any representation coming from this 
point in the Herald, in which our names figure, be slow 
to credit. I send you his card. His name is Doyle, 
and he wears a detective's appearance. We had but 
little conversation with him. 

Fearing my letter will not have time to pass through 
the regular channel in time, I must reluctantly bring 
it to a close by desiring to be remembered to all the 
loved ones at home, to our darling little children and 
family. I am in my usual health and in hopes this may 
find you in the possession of the same. 

Write soon and give all news that may be of inter- 
est, particularly that which may have a bearing upon 
my stay or release. Boat is going. 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, August 25, 1867. 
My darling Frank : 

I received two letters from you, mailed July 31 and 
August 12, and one from Sissy, July 31, also several 
papers which have interested me considerably, so far 
at least as to know that the long and wearisome trial 
of Surratt is now over (for a time at least), and the 
change which has been effected and contemplated in 
the Cabinet. 

The New York Herald, so bitter before in its de- 
munications of everything Southern or Democratic, 
has now turned around and advocates their principles 
and advises action upon the part of the President, 
which it scorned down a few months ago. By straws 


we know the direction of the wind, and we can con- 
clude from these incidents the allaying- of strife, and 
the return to sober reason and justice. The way seems 
now clear for our early reunion, if those entrusted in 
the management of my case be sincere and not actuated 
by sinister motives. Those who may fear prosecution 
may desire my detention and may hold out some in- 
ducement to the attorney to be tardy. I do not com- 
prehend the conduct of Mr. Reverdy Johnson, and 
his son-in-law may be influenced by him. I have 
become so that I mistrust everybody, except our im- 
mediate family and connections, until they prove by 
conduct worthy of confidence. I am in hopes I will 
promote no unkind fears toward those in whom you 
have confided, but avert to the fact that you might 
take advantage of the least suspicion of unfair plaj'. 
I will be home in October agreeably to calculations I 
have formed, yet I have so often been led astray, I can 
feel no confidence in any conclusion I arrive at. I am 
very well, though the island is becoming sickly. We 
have had one case of yellow fever here since I last 
wrote, which proved fatal. It originated here, and 
was not imported. A general renovation has ensued, 
which for the future will prevent its recurrence. I have 
no fears regarding it, which is its greatest preventa- 
tive. We have a Dr. Smith attending the Post who 
says he is related to Mr. Wm. B. Hill's family, and 
seems acquainted with many in that county and the 
D. C. He seems quite a nice man, and has manifested 
a kind feeling toward me. Major Stone, who is also 
in the immediate command, has displayed much en- 
ergy, and relieved many grievances. Although the 
laws are rigidly strict governing the Post, we have 
been specially favored, and been objects of their kind- 
ness. We are permitted to purchase from Key West, 
^ potatoes etc., which before we were denied. 


Remember me as ever to all the dear ones at home, 
and believe me, Your devoted husband, 


August 26, 1867. 
My darling Frank : 

The mail boat having remained up to the present, 
and my letter of yesterday not handed in, I take ad- 
vantage to add a postcript. Since I wrote yesterday, 
another case of fever has been admitted to the hos- 
pital, which from present symptoms, will likely prove 

The weather has been very calm for several days 
and very warm, causing no doubt the generation of 
the peculiar poison which gives rise to the disease. 
Water and everything in the shape of vegetation rap- 
idly undergoes decomposition here. The sea water 
suffered to stand in a bucket two or three hours be- 
comes very offensive to the smell. 

I have read the speeches of Messrs. Brady and Mer- 
rick, and am much pleased at their able, learned, and 
providential success. Reflecting upon the situation of 
affairs, I know no more auspicious moment to press 
the matter of my release than the present. The argu- 
ment of Merrick being sustained by such substantial 
proof carried conviction to the hearts of those hitherto 
most prejudiced, and made them familiar with the 
foulest murder and crimes, under the cover of law, 
that ever defaced the pages of history. Well may 
those seek to cover their flight from the scene of their 
bloody tragedy, by attempting to visit their displeasure 
on the President. The spectre of ghosts ever haunts 
their guilty visions, and they gladly seek to find some 
place of repose. 

Your devoted husband, 




New Orleans, September i, 1867. 
Dear Frank : 

I received a letter from Jere last week containing 
note from Merrick stating Governor Black of Penn- 
sylvania and himself would attend to Sam's case, but 
he would need one thousand dollars for Governor 
Black. I wrote to Jere and told him I had five hun- 
dred dollars which was at his disposal, and to call on 
his father for the balance. Let me know if they are 
doing anything for Sam, or if his "praying friends" 
can raise five hundred dollars. 

We are having a deal of yellow fever. I will write 
to you soon, and answer questions asked in your letter. 
Your brother, 

T. O. Dyer. 

Fort Jefferson, Florida, September 3, 1867. 
My darling Frank : 

I wrote you last on the 28th of August. Since then 
three more cases of yellow fever have proved fatal, and 
a number of new cases have been admitted to the hos- 
pital. To prevent the spread of the disease, one of the 
companies has been removed to one of the adjacent 
islands, and a hospital erected on another, where the 
patients are carried as soon as taken. One of the 
officers is now sick with the disease and not expected 
to recover; quite a panic exists among soldiers and 


officers. The prisoners, as a rule, seem to feel no 
alarm. The outbreak of fever ought to furnish a 
reasonable cause for our removal to a more healthy 
locality. As it has made its appearance here and in so 
malignant a form, it will most likely become epidemic 
or confined here for an indefinite period, for we have 
no frost here, and the climate does not vary much 
with the season; besides every soldier and prisoner 
is provided with a blanket or two, and as his clothes 
are all woolen, will serve as retentatives of the poison 
or miasma. It is likely a report will be made by the 
commanding officer to the War Department concern- 
ing the true condition of affairs, and the extent of the 
epidemic. You can advise with friends, and act as 
seems most fit. Humanity, apart from every other 
reason, ought to prompt our removal. 

Let me know whether a petition signed by the offi- 
cers of the Post would be of any avail. I have thought 
over the matter, and think that under present circum- 
stances, the public mind might justify some ameliorat- 
ing action upon the part of the President. Write 
immediately in answer and give all news. 
Your fond husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, September 8, 1867. 
My dear Jere : 

I wrote to you on the 6th and acquainted you with 
the true condition of affairs at that time. I spoke of 
the illness of Dr. Smith and wife. He died last night. 
Mrs. Smith will likely recover ; they leave two nice lit- 
tle children. Nearly every man now on the island is 
infected with the disease. The hospitals are all full, 
and the greatest consternation prevails. Dr. White- 
hurst arrived last night from Key West. He will re- 


lieve me. The two days I have had the management 
of the hospital no deaths have occurred, and all have 
improved that were taken in time. The mail is leaving. 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, September 13, 1867. 
My darling Frank : 

It is now nearly eleven o'clock at night, and though 
tired and worn from constant attention upon the sick 
and dying, having buried two to-day, I cannot refrain 
from letting you share the gloom which surrounds this 
seeming God-forsaken isle. Although three-fourths 
of the garrison have been removed, the epidemic seems 
to increase with unabated fury. The first three or four 
days of my attendance in the hospital we were not 
visited with a single death. Since then the number has 
largely increased, the most experienced nurses have 
been seized with the disease. It is impossible to obtain 
suitable nurses to bestow the attention required, and 
seven unfortunate beings have been ushered into 
eternity, without a kind word or ministering angel of 
religion. Our hospital being insufficient to hold the 
numbers, a second, then a third, and yesterday a 
fourth, were provided, and they are all filled. We have 
scarcely well ones enough to attend the sick and bury 
the dead. They are not suffered to grow cold before 
they are hurried off to the grave. 

Dr. Whitehurst, who was expelled from the island 
in the beginning of the war, on account of the 
sympathies of his wife, is now an incessant laborer 
from Key West. He is quite an old man, but has 
endeared himself to all by his Christian, constant, and 
unremitting attention at all hours, even when duty 
seemed not to require. I remain up every night until 


eleven or twelve, and sometimes later. He is up the 
balance of the night, and there never was greater ac- 
cord of medical opinion. He did not arrive here for 
several days after the duties of physician of the Post 
had devolved upon me by the illness and lamented 
death of Dr. Smith, and I assure you I felt much grati- 
fied when my conduct had met with his approval, being 
almost without any experience in the treatment of the 
disease, and having nothing to govern me other than 
the symptoms which the dread malady presented. By 
this accident I am once more restored to liberty of the 
island at all hours, day or night. Every officer of the 
Post is down with the disease, and but one remains to 
perform all the duties. He is a newcomer from Balti- 
more, and recently married. His name is Lieutenant 
Gordon. Little or no guard duty is performed, and 
but little difficulty presented to those who might be 
disposed to escape. I have resigned myself to the fates, 
and shall no more act upon my own impulse. Not one 
of the prisoners has as yet died, and those that take 
the disease pass through it without any apparent suf- 

Mrs. Stone, the wife of the Commandant, is quite 
sick with the fever. She is a patient of Dr. White- 
hurst. He manifests some anxiety in her regard, and 
I fear the disease will overcome her and she be num- 
bered among its victims. I am well acquainted with 
her. No deaths have occurred since yesterday morn- 
ing. There are three very low, and their cases present 
a doubtful issue at this time. I am very well, and have 
no fears of the disease. My manner gives confidence 
to all around, and has a tendency to revive the flagging 
spirit. I am bravest in danger. I fear the boat may 
leave, so shall post right away. Good-by. 



Fort Jefferson, Florida, September i6, 1867. 
My precious Frank : 

The mail has not yet left since the date of the 13th. 
We have lost only two, both of whom died this morn- 
ing, one being an officer, Lieutenant Orr. The infec- 
tion is subsiding, only for the want of victims. I am 
not very well, though; feel badly, which I attribute 
to the loss of rest and constant attention to the sick, 
etc. I received yours of August 23d, day before yes- 
terday, and Fannie's of the 28th. Judging from these 
letters, matters look less favorable now than before the 
trial of Surratt. In the name of the Almighty, what 
can the American idea of law and justice be? I am 
sick of the words — law, justice. I feel almost like 
insulting any one who would advise recourse to it. If 
I am to wait here until the affair is settled by the Court, 
it may be unnecessary for the want of a subject. 

The disease now prevailing here will not likely stop 
with the change of season, it will no doubt be confined 
here for an indefinite period, and when I am worn 
down with exhaustion and fatigue, I will be an easy 
prey to the infection. Thus far it seems to be the curse 
of the Almighty. No more honor is shown the de- 
ceased, be he officer or soldier, than to the putrid re- 
mains of a horse. They are buried to get rid of the 
stench and infection. We have no commander of the 
Post now, everything is in the hands of the physician. 

Dr. Smith's child, a boy about three years old, has 
the fever. He is a very intelligent child, and has 
amused me on several occasions. I fear he will not 
get over it. Mrs. Smith has recovered from the fever. 
A little daughter about seven years old remains ex- 
empt, having been sent to a different portion of the 
Fort. The little boy was very fond of me, and used 
to turn somersaults for me. I will write again to- 
morrow. Good-by, 



September 17, 1867. 
My darling Frank : 

The boat left this morning early for Key West for 
medicine, etc., consequently I could not get this off or 
the hasty scrawl previously written. Although many 
deaths have occurred, and no abatement up to the 
present hour, I feel no alarm, and you must not suffer 
any uneasiness. 

I visited my little pet to-day, and found him, to my 
great sorrow, almost in the agonies of death. He had 
the black vomit, and not expected to live many hours. 
We have also a man in the hospital with the same fatal 
precursor, and he will not live to see morning. We 
have saved only one thus far after the appearance of 
the black vomit. The little boy is a patient of Dr. 
Whitehurst. I visited him to-day, at his request, in 
consultation. We have now over a hundred cases of 
fever in hospital, and the percentage of deaths is un- 
precedentedly small, taking the average mortality in 
other places where the disease has prevailed as an 

Arnold had it, and is now well. I kept him in our 
room. O'Loughlin has it now, and getting along very 
well. Should I get it, I will not have any one to at- 
tend my case other than Dr. W., who is very old, and 
is a little slow in his actions and treatment. The dis- 
ease being quick, has to be treated vigorously from 
the start. Should I have time, I will endeavor to give 
to the world my theory and experiences of the disease, 
as confined to this island. The disease ends its course 
quick, and has to be taken in time and treated vigor- 
ously to get the patient through the first stage in order 
that a successful termination may be promised. You 
see I have, for the want of a subject, expended these 
three small sheets with matter which will likely never 


be of any concern to you, except so far as relieving 
your mind of further anxiety and concern on my ac- 
count. Were our separation to be much longer pro- 
longed, or no hopes of a speedy release, I could will- 
ingly resign now to the fate which we must all one 
day inevitably suffer. The future is unknown, and 
should I be carried away with this scourge, I have 
nothing to will you and our dear little childrai but 
my undying love and affection. The mail is expected 
in on the 19th so I will postpone until to-morrow 
further remarks. It is now twelve o'clock at night, 
and I have to visit all the patients before retiring, so 
good night. 

September 18, 1867. 

My darling Frank : 

I have been so engaged to-day that I did not think 
of getting a pen. It is now 10 o'clock. I am in the 
dispensary and everything quiet as death, except now 
and then a new case is brought in for treatment. Two 
cases have come in since 9 o'clock. They are generally 
taken sudden and most frequently at night. We have 
had three deaths to-day. The little son of Mrs. Smith 
died at 3 o'clock this morning; poor woman, she has 
lost her husband and son — not being here more than 
six weeks. A little girl only survives ; she will leave 
by the first boat for the North. Mrs. Smith was telling 
me yesterday that all her family reside in Montgomery 
County, Md. A Rev. Mr. Prout is an uncle of hers in 
Nanjemoy, Charles County, Md. The other two 
deaths were soldiers. An indescribable gloom per- 
vades the garrison — many are conjecturing who will 
be the next. Only one officer still reports for duty, and 
he now shows evident symptoms of the disease; per- 
haps to-morrow I will chronicle him among the sick. 


September 19, 1867, 10 a. m. 
My darling Frank : 

The boat arrived this morning as anticipated, bring- 
ing me yours of September 4. I see nothing encour- 
aging. I see that we are still styled the "assassination 
conspirators" in the President's amnesty. If it go 
upon fact, it has no reference, but the name is suf- 
ficient — "Give a dog a bad name and you may as well 
kill him." 

We had one death this morning; we will not likely 
have any more to-day. All the patients now in hos- 
pital are doing well. O'Loughlin is improving. I 
attend him in our room. 

September 19, 1867. 
My precious Frank : 

My letters come to hand now unopened, and you 
need have no fear to make known what action is con- 
templated. If it is not immediate and bids fair for my 
release, I would have nothing to do with it, because it 
will be only loss of time and money, a source of aggra- 
vation and mutual anxiety. I would much prefer 
nothing to be done so long as such infernal scoundrels 
have the control of the courts and access to the public 
treasure to suborn perjury. The best thing you can 
do is to cause our removal to some Northern bastile, 
where the laws are in force. A sufficient excuse now 
offers itself — -the presence of the epidemic of yellow 
fever, etc. The mail is being made up by the post- 
master, so I must conclude. My undying love to all. 

Many of the deaths reported have not occurred here, 
but on an adjacent island where we have erected a 
hospital ; more than half sent there have died. I claim 
the credit of having broken up this establishment, and 
having inaugurated an entirely different system of 
treatment. Dr. Smith admitted, before his death, that 


he had never seen a case of it before, and acknowledged 
his incompetency to treat the malady. He never con- 
sulted with me upon the subject, and the fate he suf- 
fered may be the consequence. We had several cases 
in the Baltimore Infirmary during the epidemic that 
prevailed at Norfolk in 1855. I became acquainted 
then with the pathology of the disease, but have acted 
here entirely upon my own theory, and with unprece- 
dented success. I can say with truth that none have 
died that have been seen in time and had proper at- 
tention and nursing. I am universally respected by all 
the soldiers, and they seem ever ready to shower com- 
pliments and favors. 

Major Stone has kindly promised to make known 
my services to the authorities at Washington, but un- 
less they have the magnanimity to release me, their 
word of praise will be of no consequence. I am very 
well and feel much better to-day than yesterday. I 
truly grieve to hear of the unfortunate death of Billy 

Kiss our dear little children, and as ever. 
Your fond and devoted husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, September 21, 1867. 
My dear Jere : 

I wrote yesterday to Frank. The mail will leave at 
10 o'clock; it is now eight. 

I wrote to you a few days ago, and gave all particu- 
lars of the fever then raging here. Since then several 
have died, among them the little son of Mrs. Dr. 
Smith; Lieutenant Orr and Mrs. Stone, wife of the 
Commandant. Arnold had it and is now well. 
O'Loughlin was taken day before yesterday, and was 
getting along very well up to late yesterday evening, 
when, owing to the imprudence of some visitor giving 


account of the recent deaths, he became excited, sank 
into a collapse, and with difficulty we could save his 
life up to the present. He has revived considerably, 
but is yet in a critical condition. Our attention is 
unremitted; and assure his friends he shall sufifer for 
nothing. We have now by his side all the delicacies 
the island can afford. 

Mrs. Stone died last night, and was buried this 
morning. Major Stone will leave at ten for the North 
to take his little son, an only child. I had a talk with 
him this morning, and gave my views of the situation. 
I told him plainly there was no abatement in the dis- 
ease; that, instead of becoming milder, it was evi- 
dently more malignant. I told him in a short time the 
garrison would be without officers, and it would be 
death to any unacclimated officer who would be sent 
here; also that in this climate the disease was likely 
to continue an indefinite period, owing to the fact that 
there is not much change of temperature with the 
season. He promised to see General Grant in person 
and represent the matter. You can form no idea of 
the gloom that pervades this God-forsaken place. I 
have just been called to O'Loughlin; will finish when 
I return. 

O'lvOughlin had a convulsion a few minutes ago. 
My heart almost fails me, but I must say he is dying. 
God only knows who will be the next. There will be 
likely two or three more deaths during the day. 

Arnold received the box sent by his friends. Why 
don't you write sometimes ? Good-by. 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, September 23, 1867. 
My darling Frank : 

I wrote to you day before yesterday. The mail came 
this morning and will return immediately, so I have 


to hurry. I received no tidings from any one to-day. 
I have written to Jere, and have sent some trifling 
articles to him to be distributed among you all. 

O'Loughlin died this morning. We did all that was 
possible, but our efforts were in vain. We prolonged 
his suffering life for two days by constant nursing and 

I am not feeling so well to-day, my head aches. It 
may be from sitting up so much, but fear it is the 
premonitory symptoms of the prevailing epidemic. 
Five were buried this morning, including O'Loughlin. 
The hospital is full, and scarcely nurses enough to at- 
tend the sick. I have been acting physician and nurse 
for a considerable time, until I am nearly exhausted. 
My heart sickens at the prospect which is before me. 
Were an enemy throwing shot and shell in here a more 
horrible picture could not be presented — a useless ex- 
penditure of life and money. Thousands of dollars 
worth of property has been destroyed as infected, 
clothing, etc. 

Give my love to all, and believe me, ever fond and 
devotedly. Your husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, September 26, 1867. 
My dear Jere: 

I send to-day, through the kindness of Captain Ham- 
ilton, as a present to you one crabwood cane and an 
unfinished cribbage board. I have sent a package or 
two of moss-cards, and some common shells. Tell 
M. C. to select what may please her fancy, and to send 
the balance, together with the box, to Frank to be 
divided between Fannie, Cecie and Em. There are 
five crabwood crosses — four were made by poor 
O'Loughlin, at the request of his sister, for Cousin 
Ann. Since his death it would be best to send them to 


his sister. The other I made myself. I intended mak- 
ing several more, but was taken from the shop. I am 
sorry I have nothing more worthy to send. The fever 
continues unabated. Lieutenant Gordon, of Baltimore, 
and Zulinski, a Polander, are now dangerously ill with 
the fever. There is but one other officer at the Post 
who is convalescent, and he unfit for duty. My health 
continues good. 

I wrote your name on the stick for you. Should it 
be removed by any means, you can know it by its being 
much the largest stick of the bundle. It is very heavy 
and intended more to look at than for use. I am sorry 
I have nothing suitable to send to Pa or Ma. When 
you write give me some idea what you think would 
please them. 

The schooner Matchless has just arrived from Key 
West. Major Stone, on his way North, was taken sick 
and died there on the 25th. He promised to make 
known the services I have rendered to the Post. His 
death will prevent likely any mention of my name in 
connection with the present epidemic. Unless the 
patient is attended to immediately, it is almost in- 
variably fatal. Thirty deaths in all from fever have 
taken place since the middle of August up to the 
present date. Two companies have been sent to an 
adjacent island, which thus far has remained quite ex- 
empt from the disease; a case now and then occurs 
among them. 

Remember me to all. Write soon and give news of 
all that is going on. Yours, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, September 25, 1867. 
My darling Frank : 

When I wrote last I mentioned the death of little 
Harry Smith, son of Dr. Smith, and spoke of the ill- 


ness of Mrs. Stone. With much sorrow I announce 
her death; she died on the morning of the 21st. 
Major Stone, her husband, became so alarmed (al- 
though he idolized her) he did not go to see her buried, 
but bundled up immediately and started with the in- 
tention of going North, taking his little son, an only 
child, about two years. Before reaching Key West he 
was seized with the fever^ and died there on the morn- 
ing of the 25th instant. He was very kind toward 
us, and had promised to make known to the authorities 
at Washington the service I had rendered the garrison 
during the recent epidemic, which he thought would 
have considerable weight in restoring me to liberty, and 
to my family. Now that he is dead there is no one here 
whom I can expect to take any interest in my behalf, 
and the future may not be so propitious with me. 

In my last I mentioned the name and good health 
of Lieutenant Gordon of Baltimore. He has since been 
swept away by the disease; he was buried yesterday, 
twelve o'clock noon. He leaves a young wife to be- 
moan his loss. He was kind and courteous always. 
I am not acquainted with his wife. They have no chil- 
dren. The disease thus far has destroyed one family. 
Major Stone and wife, and made desolate three young 
wives, Mrs. Orr, the wife of Lieutenant Orr; Mrs. 
Smith, the wife of Dr. Smith; and Mrs. Gordon, the 
wife of Lieutenant Gordon. I attended Mrs. Smith 
through the active stage of her disease, and a nobler 
woman I never met. She left here the evening of the 
27th for home, which is in Montgomery County, Md. 
The child of Major Stone was well when last heard 
from. Mrs. Orr was a missionary, and luckily left in 
May last on a visit home (Jefferson Barracks) to spend 
the summer. 

When Dr. Whitehurst arrived, I yielded to his age 
and experience, and was relieved from further atten- 


tion upon the officers and their wives, at my own re- 
quest. My duties were then principally directed in the 
hospital. All those that have died in the official circle 
were patients of his and had all the advantages of his 
experience and knowledge. I feel much relieved that 
they did not die upon my hands, for likely another 
charge of murder, etc., would be brought upon my 
unsuspecting shoulders. 

Since you last heard from me twelve deaths have 
occurred, eight only in hospital, which is a small per- 
centage considering numbers and the facilities of treat- 
ment. I believe I understand the disease now thor- 
oughly, and can treat it as successfully as any other 
disease, if taken in time. 

I wrote to Dr. Dent a few days ago, and gave him 
the mode of treatment pursued with such happy effect, 
when in time and practicable. Sometimes the poor 
creatures are struck with delirium from the beginning, 
and are perfectly wild and unmanageable; some die 
the same day they are taken, but most live to the third 
day. More die for the want of proper nursing and 
care than lack of medical attention. I am up all day 
until twelve o'clock at night. Dr. Whitehurst comes 
around between that time and day. I sleep until five 
or six o'clock in the morning and return at seven. The 
number in hospital has diminished somewhat recently, 
but only for the want of victims. Nearly evei*y one 
in the garrison has had the disease, many a second 
time. The cases that come in now are of the most 
malignant form, which shows that the principle of the 
disease is still active. Colonel Grenfel is quite sick 
with the disease; he was taken yesterday. I will do 
all that is possible to save him. He has been acting as 
nurse upon many of the officers recently. 

The mail boat came in late yesterday evening, bring- 
ing some medical supplies, but no mail. 


A Dr. Thomas has been assigned to this Post as 
medical director, and will be here to-morrow. Dr. 
Whitehurst will leave immediately after his arrival, 
and will take Mrs. Gordon in charge on her way home. 
She will stop with the Doctor at Key West until a 
steamer passes northward bound. I shall vacate my 
position as soon as he leaves. I shall miss him a great 
deal. He makes no charge for any service rendered, 
which shows his unselfish spirit, and the motive which 
actuated him to come to us in our greatest need. There 
are but two officers left; one is convalescent, and the 
other is lying at the point of death, but may survive 
with good nursing. You can't imagine the gloom and 
indifference which pervades the whole garrison. No 
more respect is shown the dead, be he officer or soldier, 
than the putrid remains of a dead dog. The burial 
party are allowed a drink of whiskey both before and 
after the burying, which infuses a little more life in 
them. They move quickly, and in half an hour after 
a man dies, he is put in a coffin, nailed down, carried 
to a boat, rowed a mile to an adjacent island, the grave 
dug, covered up, and the party returned, in the best 
of humor, for their drinks. Such are life and scenes 
in Tortugas. But ten men appear at roll-call, and not 
more than twenty fit for duty in garrison. Two com- 
panies have been sent away, which thus far have 
escaped the disease. They will not return until the 
infection is declared at an end, which will be some 
time yet. 

My health has been very good up to the present. 
I sometimes feel a little indisposed, but attribute it to 
sitting up late and loss of usual rest. You will no 
doubt see full accounts of the disease here in the papers, 
so I shall defer until my next, further comments. Try 
and give me some satisfactory news when you write. 
Your husband, 



lo o'clock at night, September 29, 1867. 
My darling Frank : 

Lately I have been holding on to the letters I write 
you until I know definitely when the mail leaves in 
order that you may hear from me at the latest period. 
I concluded this hasty scrawl early this morning, fear- 
ing the boat would return immediately to Key West. 
Learning she would not, delayed until to-morrow. I 
now proceed to give a detail of the day's occurrence. 
We lost one man to-day about noon. He had the fever, 
which ended fatally to-day. Lieutenant Zulinski (a 
Polander), the officer I mentioned in the foregoing as 
being very ill with the fever, is rapidly sinking. I 
have not seen him to-day. His nurses represent him 
in a critical condition. Should he die, it will make five 
out of six officers, a remarkable fatality. We have ad- 
mitted six new cases to-day. This is a decline of less 
than one-half the usual number for many days past, 
being generally fifteen or sixteen. I am in hopes the 
boat, which is expected in to-morrow, may bring a 
mail, and that I may hear you are all equally well as 
myself, and may disclose something definite and re- 
liable as to my stay here. I do not like to act upon 
conclusions of my own, but would do so, if matters bid 
fair to be protracted, and an easy mode of escape 
offered. I will likely conclude this sheet to-morrow 
should I have time before the mail goes out ; if not, I 
bid you a reluctant good night and pleasant dreams. 



September 30, 1867, 9 o'clock p. m. 
The mail boat did not leave to-day owing to the non- 
arrival of the one expected from Key West. No 
deaths have occurred to-day, although there is one not 
likely to live uutil rnopiing. I was interrupted a few 


minutes ago, and told that he was breathing his last, 
by his nurse. I went to him, and with the application 
of a pitcher or two of cold water to the head he was 
relieved of the convulsion, and is now doing as well 
as can be expected. With good and proper attention 
he would get over it, but that is impossible here. The 
nurses are ignorant and careless, and I can't act both 
the physician and nurse. Lieutenant Zulinski is in 
statu quo, no appreciable change for the better yet ob- 
served. Colonel Grenfel is quite sick; his case is 
doubtful. More were admitted in hospital to-day. 
The reason is, there are not more than a dozen on the 
island yet to have it. We will call them up to-morrow, 
and learn the reason why they did not have the disease. 
I suggested the idea to the Doctor this evening. I will 
write again to-morrow. Good-by. 






Fort Jefferson, Florida, October i, 1867. 
My dear Jere : 

To you and the uninformed public this Post may ap- 
pear very important to be held by our country as a 
strategic position, offensive and defensive; but to us 
nothing seems more ridiculous, and the only object for 
the full garrison is to hold us, now four prisoners, 
Grenfel, Arnold, Spangler, and Mudd. We conclude 
therefore, since they do not remove the entire garrison 
from this infected spot, that they would prefer to sac- 
rifice us with the garrison, sooner than cause our re- 
moval to a more salubrious locality. Thus far four 
valuable officers have yielded up their lives, and misery 
untold has been entailed upon their distressed fam- 
ilies, — not saying anything of the brave men in the 
ranks who have perished, — ^to carry out what can only 
be termed a complimentary sentence in atonement for 
the life of the Chief Executive of the people, though 
such sentence is contrary to law and every principle 
of justice. 

By the hand of Providence my fetters ha-\'e been 
broken, yet I run not, preferring to share the fate of 
those around me and to lend what aid in my power to 
breaking down the burning fever, overcoming the ag- 
onizing delirium, and giving all the hope and encour- 


agement possible to the death-stricken victims of the 

Dr. Whitehurst from Key West, an old man sixty- 
odd years of age, is attending here night and day, 
doing all that human judgment and skill can effect, 
without the hope of any other reward than that prom- 
ised to those who do unto others as they wish to be 
done by. I have done all that lay in my power, and 
feel encouraged by the gratitude expressed by those I 
have relieved. It is high time that the public was 
made acquainted with the fact, and those in power 
made to yield to a proper sense of duty and regard for 
justice, instead of visiting upon helpless victims an 
unjust and tyrannical punishment. A million and more 
dollars have already been thrown away to debauch the 
public morals in the vain hope that they might fix, with 
some plausible degree of justice, the stigma of the 
crime of the assassination on innocent victims. 

We have, up to the present, lost by the fever at this 
Post thirty-three in all, counting men, women, and 
children, which is a small mortality, considering the 
number attacked with the disease and the inadequate 
facilities for treatment. I suppose ere this reaches you 
you will have heard of the death of Lieutenant Gordon 
of Baltimore. He had been here but a short time, and 
had been married but two months. Lieutenant Zulinski 
is lying dangerously ill with the fever. There is but 
one officer here to perform all the duties, and he only 
a second lieutenant ; all the rest have died. Two com- 
panies have been sent to an adjacent island, and thus 
far have remained quite healthy and free from the 
fever. The whole garrison could have been removed 
as well and the epidemic at once cut short ; but this did 
not appear a part of the program, and the pestilential 
vapors have spread death and destruction. O'Lough- 
lin dead — stain upon the country. I and all labored 


day and night to save him, but in'vain. The vital spark 
was too weak, and he yielded in quiet submission to 
the omnipotent hand of Providence. 
Your brother, 


October 14, 1867. 
My precious Frank: 

I received yours and Fannie's of the 23d of Septem- 
ber, on October 11, to which I replied in a very few 
lines on that day. I sat up in bed to write them, but 
now I have fully recovered from the fever, with the 
exception of strength and flesh, which will take some 
time to restore in this climate under the circumstances 
we are placed. 

Since I have been sick I have had the greatest desire 
for fruits, apples, peaches, etc. These we barely meet 
with, except in the very imperfect state of hermetically 
sealed cans. Although the State abounds in fruits at 
all seasons, we seldom meet with any. Occasionally 
a few oranges, bananas, and pineapples come on the 
boats, but the price is so enormous we can't afford to 
indulge in a plentiful supply. 

We have pretty constantly on hand Irish potatoes, 
yams, or sweet potatoes, onions, ham and butter, for 
which we pay the following prices, viz : ham, thirty 
cents ; butter, seventy cents ; Irish potatoes, seven dol- 
lars per barrel ; yams, seven dollars per barrel ; onions, 
eleven dollars per barrel. We have received lately a 
very fine barrel of potatoes from Mr. Ford, also one 
from an unknown party, with a splendid ham. I have 
but little appetite for such things, and indeed doubt 
very much whether I would enjoy fruits, which I have 
mentioned, were they brought here. I feel, with the 
returning seasons, the inclination for the sports and 
pursuits I have been accustomed to since childhood. 


and without the same degree of Uberty, freedom of 
speech, etc., but httle enjoyment realized. 

You mentioned in your letter that Jere said Mr. 
Black had undertaken my case, and that he felt con- 
fident of success. You forgot to name when it would 
take place, and how it would be accomplished. If the 
Government refuses the writ of habeas corpus to be 
served or be of any force here, how is he then to pro- 
ceed? I have already written to you plainly on the 
subject in anticipation of the next dodge of the political 
tricksters. It is all done to consume time and rob you 
and friends of every farthing they can. When the 
apples are ripe they will fall without human interven- 
tion — so with my release. When I am released from 
here, I shall thank no mortal man for it, but shall look 
upon it only in the light of every other thing in nature, 
that it was ordained, could not be otherwise. Jere has 
given you this to satisfy you. It would have been bet- 
ter had he imparted this information himself than en- 
trusted you with it. 

Could I believe the Government would be influenced 
by my good conduct, I could send to you, signed by 
every officer and soldier of the Post, the most praise- 
worthy testimonial in regard to the services recently 
rendered the garrison during epidemic of yellow fever 
here. Many have come forward and pressed me to 
permit them to make some public manifestation of the 
esteem they hold toward me, but thus far I consider it 
only a superfluous idea, and of no practical value. It 
could only serve to excite my vanity, which I am in no 
mood at this time to gratify. You know I was never 
ambitious of much preferment, and I have grown less 
so of late years. One of the officers came to me yester- 
day in person, and desired me to make known my ser- 
vices to the Government through the men of the gar- 
rison. I told him I would await a reply from my 


friends on the subject. Let me know if anything of 
the sort will be of service when you write. 

Give my love to all and believe me most fondly, 
Your husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, October i8, 1867. 
My darling Frank : 

Sissy spoke of your intended trip to Washington. 
I can't see what you expect to accomplish, when mil- 
lions of dollars have been expended and a number of 
officers' and soldiers' lives sacrificed to hold us here. 
I can see nothing but the most determined spirit, in 
spite of every principle of law and justice, to restrain 
us of our liberty, and the comfort we might be able to 
afford our distressed families. 

I can have no sentiments of good feeling toward 
those in power, no matter what their politics. Pilate 
believed in the innocence of Christ, but was he justi- 
fied in giving him up to the executioners at their cry 
for his blood? Such is the position, such is the light 
in which I hold those now in authority. A formal 
petition to the Government, with preamble enumerat- 
ing the services I rendered the garrison, has been 
drawn up and signed by every non-commissioned offi- 
cer of the Post. The privates will also sign it, but it 
will require some time to get all their names. This has 
been done without my knowledge. The officers, two 
in number, expressed themselves favorable toward the 
idea, and are confident it will be attended with success. 
Influenced by their opinion, I have consented. The 
appeal could be made more through curiosity to know 
what action the Government will pursue. I will, if I 
can find time before the boat goes out, send you a copy 
of what is intended to be forwarded to Washington. 
If you think proper you can present the copy in person 


to any one of influence, and see what effect or tendency 
it may have. Knowing the great prejudice pervading 
all classes of society toward all the so-called "con- 
spirators," I have but little hope of a favorable result. 
How anxious I feel concerning your welfare and our 
dear little children ; it is the only pain I suffer. I have 
grown used to my present confinement, and it no 
longer occasions me dissatisfaction. I have now all the 
liberty I could desire here. I have plenty of books, 
papers, and pen and ink, at my command. I have 
access to a very choice library of over five hundred 
volumes. My fare is as good as the island can afford, 
and I am pressed often to accept presents in the shape 
of little luxuries from the soldiers, so you see, so far as 
bodily comforts consist, I am in want of nothing ; yet 
so long as I am separated from you, I shall feel mis- 
erable and unhappy. 

Sissy mentioned that two of the most able lawyers 
have been engaged in my case. She did not state when 
or how things would be proceeded with. This serves 
only to increase my curiosity and anxiety, and I would 
much prefer no allusion made, if all can't be told. 

We have lost no cases of yellow fever since the 6th 
inst. We have now only two cases in hospital. There 
are not over five in the garrison who have escaped the 
disease, with the exception of negroes. The negroes 
have been remarkably exempt. They sleep all the time 
and wake up well. I am as well now as I ever was with 
the exception of weakness. I am still doing duty in 
the hospital. I am relieving the post physician of most 
of the duty. Good-by. 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, 1867. 
My dear Jere: 

The mail will leave in a few minutes, so I must be 
short. I have just finished a few lines to Frank. 


There are but three cases of fever now in hospital 
under active treatment. Dr. Thomas, physician of the 
post, is down with the fever. He is in a fair way to 
get well. All the duties of physician of the post are 
again upon me, which I am beginning to find unpleas- 
ant. The soldiers are never tired of lavishing upon 
me compliments and sentiments of their good-will. 
They have voluntarily drawn up a preamble and peti- 
tion, which they wish forwarded through the proper 
channel, reciting my services during the epidemic of 
fever here. If you think such an instrument will be 
of benefit, let me know, and I will forward you imme- 
diately the original or a copy, which you and friends 
can present in person. I have written to you several 
times within the past month or two, without receiving 
any reply. I am at a loss to account for your silence. 
For God's sake tiy and give me some truthful idea of 
the situation that I can look to some period in the fu- 
ture with some degree of hope. I have lost all energy 
and disposition to live under present circumstances. 
I have preferred not acting under my own impulses, 
fearing I might frustrate measures you had in con- 
templation for my relief; therefore, I desire to know 
the whole truth, so that some action of my own can be 
devised. Give my love to M. C, and remember me to 
all kind and inquiring friends. 

Hoping to hear from you soon, I am, 
Very truly, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, October 22, 1867. 
My darling Frank : 

Dr. Thomas, our new post physician, is now quite 
sick with the fever. The whole duties, as I have al- 
ready stated, have again devolved upon me, which I 
am beginning to find unpleasant. The epidemic in- 


fluence of the fever still continues, but from the fact 
that all having had an attack of the disease, they are 
less liable to a second; and abatement is the conse- 
quence. We have but one fresh case since I wrote, 
viz : the Doctor. We have only one in hospital that is 
dangerously ill; all the rest are convalescent. There 
are two companies over on an adjacent island, which 
I believe the commanding officer intends bringing over 
the first of next month. These have remained exempt 
from the disease and otherwise healthy. The whole 
garrison could have been removed as well, but Provi- 
dence decreed otherwise, and those entrusted with the 
command at that time have been swept away by the 
rude hand of the pestilence, in consequence of this 
necessary precaution being omitted. 

I am still possessing my usual health with the ex- 
ception of strength, which I find very slow in return- 
ing after an attack of this fever. My duties, however, 
are light, and I am able to get along as well as I might 
expect. There is no news stirring upon this desolate 
island — everything is lifeless and inactive. The dull 
spirit of the soldiers, etc., seems to add desolation to 
the appearance. You can imagine better than I can 
describe the condition and haggard walk of those who 
have recently been visited with the fever, and are on 
the slow march to health. 

I send you enclosed the petition gotten up by the of- 
ficers and soldiers. This is signed only by the non- 
commissioned officers ; the other which is designed to 
be sent to the President is signed by every officer and 
soldier in the garrison. I shall await with some curios- 
ity to know what effect it will have. I was in hopes 
that, long ere this, some measure of relief would have 
been devised by my very knowing and sympathetic 
friends, and that I would be happily in your midst. 

From all quarters I hear that there is considerable 


good feeling manifested, and that a pressure is being 
made by the pubhc for my unconditional and imme- 
diate release. I am inclined to doubt, since nothing 
practical is resorted to. You will please give me all 
the information on the subject of my release that you 
deem expedient, in your next. I want to know the 
time when I may expect the benefits of the action at 
law contemplated. I look upon law nowadays as 
equivalent to injustice, something that aggravates and 
adds insult to injury. I hope times have changed, and 
the result be otherwise. 

The enclosed petition you can make use of in any 
manner thought advisable by friends. The weather 
continues very warm, the thermometer standing be- 
tween 80 and 90 degrees in the shade. We can't ex- 
pect any abatement in the fever until a change takes 
place in the atmosphere; it will not be much lower 
even during the winter. Agreeable to writers on the 
subject, the disease is capable of extension in all lati- 
tudes above forty degrees, so it may continue here in- 

Hoping the time of our unhappy separation is grow- 
ing short, I am as ever, 

Your devoted husband, 


Following is a copy of the petition gotten up 
by the garrison at the Tortugas for the release 
of my father. All names of signers omitted : 

It is with sincere pleasure that we acknowledge the 
great services rendered by Dr. S. A. Mudd (prisoner) 
during the prevalence of yellow fever at the Port. 
When the very worthy surgeon of the Post, Dr. J. 
Sim Smith, fell one of the first victims of the fatal 
epidemic, and the greatest dismay and alarm naturally 


prevailed on all sides, deprived as the garrison was of 
the assistance of any medical officer, Dr. Mudd, in- 
fluenced by the most praiseworthy and humane mo- 
tives, spontaneously and unsolicited came forward to 
devote all his energies and professional knowledge to 
the aid of the sick and dying. He inspired the hope- 
less with courage, and by his constant presence in the 
midst of danger and infection, regardless of his own 
life, tranquillized the fearful and desponding. By his 
prudence and foresight, the hospital upon an adjacent 
island, to which at first the sick were removed in an 
open boat, was discontinued. Those attacked with the 
malady were on the spot put under vigorous treatment. 
A protracted exposure on the open sea was avoided, 
and many now strong doubtless owe their lives to the 
care and treatment they received at his hands. He 
properly considered the nature and character of the 
infection and concluded that it could not be eradicated 
by the mere removal of the sick, entailing, as it did, 
the loss of valuable time necessary for the application 
of the proper remedies, exposure of those attacked and 
adding to the general fear and despondency. The en- 
tire different system of treatment and hospital arrange- 
ment was resorted to with the happiest effect. Dr. 
Mudd's treatment and the change which he recom- 
mended met with the hearty approval and warm com- 
mendation of the regularly appointed surgeons, with 
whom, in a later stage of the epidemic, he was asso- 
ciated. Many here who have experienced his kind and 
judicious treatment, can never repay him the debt of 
obligation they owe him. We do, therefore, in consid- 
eration of the invaluable services rendered by him dur- 
ing this calamitous and fatal epidemic, earnestly rec- 
ommend him to the well-merited clemency of the Gov- 
ernment, and solicit his immediate release from here, 
and restoration to liberty and the bosom of his family. 


The original of this petition, it appears, 
never came into the hands of President John- 
son, although mailed to him. 

Fort Jefferson, Florida, October 26, 1867. 
My dearest Frank : 

Mail came day before yesterday, and will leave to- 
day. I received yours of October 7, complaining of the 
non-reception of my letters, when I have let no oppor- 
tunity escape without writing. I used to feel pleasure 
when writing to you, but now I am feeling an indis- 
position and want of motive to actuate me to anything, 
since I know or feel that improp'er surveillance is ex- 
ercised without my knowledge. 

I wrote to you a few days ago and sent a copy of a 
petition gotten up by the soldiers for my release. I 
have not as yet, for reasons best known to myself, pre- 
sented the instrument to the officers of the Post. The 
whole garrison have an unbounded confidence in my 
opinion, and prefer me to the regularly appointed 
physicians. There seems an idea among some, how- 
ever, that by signing the instrument they might detract 
from the knowledge and intelligence of my associates 
in medicine, and thereby cause displeasure. 

Dr. Thomas, whom I mentioned as being sick with 
the fever in my last, is still confined to his room, 
though in a fair way to recover. One fresh case has 
been admitted to the hospital since last writing. There 
are now three cases under active treatment, one of 
whom had the black vomit yesterday, and will most 
likely die, though his countenance and other symptoms 
present no such indication. 

Your letters up to the present fail to give me the 
least satisfaction in regard to what is contemplated. 
Such letters serve only to keep me here longer, for I 
might devise some measure myself, but fear to act lest 


I might frustrate the actions of my friends. I want 
the whole truth and nothing but the truth, or not a 
word on the subject, because it seems only to aggravate 
me. I sometimes feel like swearing out against ever 
writing again on account of not getting proper answers 
to my letters, or answers to the questions I ask. 

You said in your letter you have had a large number 
of masses and prayers said for me. Perhaps they have 
served to keep me alive and in suffering. I think if 
my stay is to be much longer, you better direct their 
attention to my speedy and happy death. I have lost 
all hope in prayer so far as the accomplishment of any 
worldly good. The good seem only to suffer in this 
world as a general rule. I must count myself out of 
this category, but my endeavors are to conform as near 
as I can to every injunction of the Christian. My 
health continues good, though weak and emaciated 
from my recent sickness. I am still performing all the 
duties of post physician. 

I am sorry I have nothing new to impart ; the same 
desolation, isolation and monotony prevail. Remem- 
ber me to all. 

Your fond and devoted husband, 

SamueIv Mudd. 

October 27, 1867. 
Boat detained on account of night wind. 
Since writing the above, I have had an interview 
with the commanding officer, who informed me he had 
already made mention of my services to the Depart- 
ment at Washington. He has also the original docu- 
ment gotten up by the soldiers with all their signatures. 
I don't know what action will be taken in regard to it. 
He is evidently favorable and will do all he can, con- 
sistent with his position, toward my release. 


In this connection I give a short extract 
taken from my father's notes on yellow fever: 

I will now, as near as I can, by a pen description, 
give you an idea of the embarrassment I labored under 
upon assuming the duties as surgeon of the post, that 
were unexpectedly thrust upon me, and the track fol- 
lowed by the germs or poison, as evidenced by the ap- 
pearance of disease. 

Thus on the 4th of September, seventeen days after 
the epidemic of yellow fever had broken out, the sur- 
geon. Dr. J. Sim Smith, a gentleman much respected 
and beloved by the garrison, was himself attacked with 
the fever, and by his illness, the Post was left without 
a physician in the midst of a fearful pestilence. The 
thought had never before entered my mind that this 
contingency might arise, and consequently I found my- 
self unprepared to decide between the contending emo- 
tions of fear and duty that now pressed to gain as- 
cendency. Memory was still alive, for it seemed as 
yesterday, the dread ordeal through which I had 
passed. Tried by a court not ordained by the laws of 
the land, confronted by suborned and most barefaced 
perjured testimony, deprived of liberty, banished from 
home, family and friends, bound in chains as the brute 
and forced at the point of the bayonet to do the most 
menial service, and withal denied for a time every 
luxury, and even healthy subsistence, for having exer- 
cised a simple act of common humanity in setting the 
leg of a man for whose insane act I had no sympathy, 
but which was in the line of my professional calling. 
It was but natural that resentment and fear should 
rankle in my heart, and that I should stop to discuss 
mentally the contending emotions that now rested upon 
a horrid recollection of the past. Can I be a passive 
beholder? Shall I withhold the little service I might 


be capable of rendering the unfortunate soldier who 
was but a tool in the hands of his exacting officer ? Or 
shall I again subject myself to renewed imputations of 
assassination? Who can read the motives of men? 
My motive might be ever so pure and praiseworthy, 
yet one victim of the disease might be sufficient to start 
up the cry of poison and murder. 

Whilst these disagreeable thoughts were revolving, 
a fellow-prisoner remarked, saying : "Doctor, the yel- 
low fever is the fairest and squarest thing that I have 
seen the past four or five years. It makes no distinc- 
tion in regard to rank, color, or previous condition — 
every man has his chance, and I would advise you as a 
friend not to interfere." Another said it was only a 
little Southern opposition to reconstruction, and 
thought the matter ought to be reported to Congress in 
order that a law might be passed lowering the tempera- 
ture below zero, which would most effectually put an 
end to its disloyalty. 

But I must be more serious ; and you will perceive 
that the time had now arrived in which I could occupy 
no middle ground. I felt that I had to make a decision, 
and although the rule of conduct upon which I had de- 
termined was not in accord with my natural feelings, 
yet I had the sanction of my professional and religious 
teachings and the consciousness of conforming to that 
holy precept, "Do ye good for evil," which alone dis- 
tinguishes the man from the brute. 

It being our breakfast hour on the morning of the 
5th, and thinking it required some condescension on 
the part of the commanding officer to call upon an 
humble prisoner to serve in the honorable position of 
surgeon of the post, I concluded to spare him this dis- 
agreeable duty, and instructed Mr. Arnold, a fellow- 
prisoner and roommate, who was acting clerk at head- 
quarters, to inform Major Stone, then commanding, 


that should my services be required, I had no fear of, 
nor objection to, performing whatever aid was in my 
power toward the rehef of the sick. On approaching- 
headquarters, Mr. Arnold met Major Stone coming to 
my quarters to inquire whether I would consent to at- 
tend the sick of the Post until the arrival of a regular 

When informed that I had offered my services, the 
Major seemed much pleased and had me forthwith de- 
tailed. Fortune favored me, and it so happened that 
during the intervals, amounting to nearly three weeks, 
that I had the exclusive care of the sick, not one died. 

Time will not permit me further digression. I shall 
pass over many incidents of interest connected with 
hospital management, difificulties I had to overcome in 
breaking up the prior arrangement of sending away the 
sick in open boats over a rough sea two miles and a 
half distant, and also in obtaining an opposite order 
from the commander to send to one of the islands near 
by as many of the well soldiers as could be spared from 
the garrison. This latter measure, though I had ad- 
vised it on the day I took charge of the hospital, was 
not carried out until the arrival of Dr. D. W. White- 
hurst of Key West, Florida; a noble, kind-hearted 
gentleman, who superseded me on the 9th of Septem- 

The first case of yellow fever at the Dry Tortugas, 
in the epidemic of which I now speak, occurred on the 
1 8th of August, 1867, in Company K, which was lo- 
cated in the casemates on the south side of the Fort im- 
mediately over the unfinished moat, which at low tide 
gave rise to quite offensive odors. To this circumstance 
the surgeon of the Post attributed the cause of the 
disease, and at his request the company was removed 
and the port holes ordered to be closed, to prevent the 
supposed deadly miasma from entering the Fort. 


Having the honor at this time of being a member of 
the carpenter's shop, it fell to my lot to aid in the 
work of barricading against the unseen foe, and it was 
during this patriotic service the 22d of August, that 
I made my first note of the epidemic. The places occu- 
pied by the beds of the four men, one on the i8th, one 
on the 20th, and two on the 21st, that had gone to the 
hospital sick with yellow fever, were all contiguous. 
The Fort was hexagonal in shape with a bastion at each 
corner, and the company, after its removal, was placed 
on the east side, the bastion forming the center with 
several casemates above and below boarded up separat- 
ing it from Company L, on the north and the prisoners 
on the south, and in the most eligible position for the 
spread of the poison, owing to the prevalence of the 
wind, which from early in April up to this period had 
blown continuously from the southeast, varying only 
a few degrees. 

There was a lull or temporary suspension of the 
activity of the poison on the 22d and 23d. For two 
days the company remained without any new cases, 
but on the 24th day one man was taken from the same 
company on stretchers, being unable to walk. The 
fever then rapidly extended right and left until it 
reached Company L, which was nearest the point where 
it arose this second time, and later the prisoners' quar- 
ters, which were more remote, were attacked. To 
show and to prove to you that the germs, or cause, 
spreads by continuity of matter, and not with the dis- 
ease, the first two cases that occurred in Company L, 
and the first two cases among the prisoners, were im- 
mediately next the boarded partition that separated 
them from Company K, where the fever was raging, 
having followed along the rows of beds, up to thig line 


of division, and then passed through the open spaces 
between the plank, which were loosely nailed. 

There were at this time two hospitals, the Post Hos- 
pital within the Fort, and Sand Key Hospital on an 
adjacent island about two miles and a half distant, 
which latter was fitted up as soon as the fever began to 
assume an epidemical form. The sick that occurred 
during the night and following day were immediately 
taken to the Post Hospital, and from thence at 4 
o'clock p. M. they were carried in boats by the surgeon, 
on his accustomed visit, to Sandy Key Hospital. Not- 
withstanding the fact that most of the sick walked from 
their beds to the Post Hospital, and no effort or pains 
on the part of the surgeon to isolate the disease were 
taken, owing to the belief in its miasmatic character, 
the germs or cause had not up to this time, September 
12, viz : 25 days, reached either of the hospitals, if 
we may judge from the circumstance that not one of 
the many nurses, who waited upon the sick day and 
night and even slept in the same room, were stricken 
down with the fever. 

The disease after extending into Company L, and to 
the prisoners' quarters, next made its appearance into 
Company I, located in the inner barracks, a building 
about three hundred feet long, thirty feet wide, and 
four stories high on the east side, running north and 
parallel with the Fort, and immediately in front of 
Company K and Company I, and distant about sixty 

I was called into this company on the morning of 
September 8, and found Sergeant Sheridan and a pri- 
vate that slept in the next bed ill with the fever. Ser- 
geant Sheridan and the first sergeant of Company K 
were great friends, and when off duty were constantly 
in each other's quarters. Sheridan generally wore a 


heavy cloak during the showers of rain that were fre- 
quent at this period, and I feel satisfied that the poison 
was carried by the ferment set up in the cloak, or me- 
chanically, by adhering formites, though it is possible 
for it to have been wafted across from Company K, 
the two beds in Company I being near the window 
facing that company. Then the fever gradually worked 
its way along through the whole company without a 
skip in regular succession as they slept. 

At the northern extremity of the barracks two rooms 
were set apart, thirty feet square, as the Post Hospital. 
On the 7th we were necessitated by the increasing num- 
ber of sick to provide other hospital quarters, and for 
convenience four casemates opposite on the ground 
tier, under Company L, were boarded up as a tempo- 
rary hospital, with our kitchen and dispensary inter- 
mediate. On the 8th our hospital supply of beds and 
bedding gave out, and on the 9th we were compelled 
to bring the bed along with the patient into the hospital. 
Two days after the admission of the infected beds, our 
nurses began falling sick, three being attacked during 
the day and night of the nth of September. Then the 
three laundresses, families who did the washing for the 
hospitals and separate quarters on the west side of the 
Fort, sixty or seventy yards apart, were all simultane- 
ously attacked upon the first issue of soiled clothing 
after our hospital became infected. 

Then again, upon the breaking up of the Sand Key 
Hospital, and the return of the nurses to the Fort, they 
were all speedily stricken down with the fever upon 
their being placed on similar duty. These nurses had 
remained free from all disease up to their return to the 
Fort, although the majority of the cases whom they 
nursed at Sand Key died with the fever. 

But the most remarkable spread of the disease oc- 


curred on the night of the i6th of September in Com- 
pany M, which was quartered in the casemates imme- 
diately above the hospital and Company L, and not- 
withstanding the proximity up to this date, twenty-nine 
days since the epidemic began, had remained entirely 
exempt from the fever, owing no doubt to the fact that 
it laid behind the bastion, which, with the prevailing 
southeast wind, produced a downward or opposing cur- 
rent. However, on the morning of the above date, 
about nine o'clock, a small rain cloud, common to that 
locality, arose to the south of the fort, which came up 
rapidly with a heavy wind, lasting about twenty 
minutes, and which blew directly from the hospital, and 
Company L, toward Company M, and the night fol- 
lowing every man went to bed in his usual health, yet 
between eleven and one o'clock nearly one-half of the 
company, or thirty men, were attacked with the most 
malignant form of the disease — -beginning at the point 
nearest the hospitals and extending thirty beds without 
missing or skipping a single occupant. 

It had been my custom to remain at the hospitals 
every night until eleven o'clock to see that every patient 
received the medicine prescribed and was quiet. On 
this occasion I had not retired more than fifteen minutes 
before I was sent for by the sergeant of Company M 
to come to his quarters, that several of his men were 
sick. Feeling much fatigued, I did not attend the sum- 
mons, but referred the messenger to Dr. Whitehurst 
and the steward of the hospital. At one o'clock the 
sergeant himself came down to my room and begged 
me for God's sake to get up, that one-half of his com- 
pany were attacked with the fever, and that he did not 
know what to do with them, as the hospitals were al- 
ready full. I went along with the sergeant, and found 


his statement fully correct, and the wildest alarm and 
confusion prevailing. 

As the hospitals were already crowded, we con- 
cluded, for convenience, to enclose the six casemates 
nearest the regular hospitals, which was speedily exe- 
cuted with canvas, and in less than two hours all moved 
back and were quiet under comfortable treatment. The 
next night or two after, the balance of the company, in 
the order of their beds, were attacked with the disease 
without an exception. 

The disease did not extend among the officers at 
headquarters until it had at first reached the negro 
prisoners, several of whom were employed by the offi- 
cers as servants, and who were in the daily habit of car- 
rying to and fro their blankets. The humble individual 
who now addresses you was not attacked until the 4th 
of October, forty-seven days after the beginning of the 
epidemic, though constantly at the bedside of the sick, 
and in the midst of the infected hospitals and quarters. 

One evening, at our usual supper hour, feeling much 
depressed and exhausted from the unaccustomed duties 
I went over to my mess, where I was besieged with 
many questions concerning the sick, and notwithstand- 
ing the solemnity of the occasion, a hearty laugh was 
frequently indulged at the expense of our ready wit, 
Edward Spangler. 

The debilitating effects of the climate, added to the 
condition consequent upon the excitement, very much 
depressed me, and after finishing my bowl of coffee 
and slice of bread, I fell upon my rude cot to spend a 
few minutes of repose. The customary sea breeze at 
this hour had sprung up, and I was shortly lulled into 
sweet sleep. My faithful and ever solicitous roommate, 
Edward Spangler, who on former occasions had mani- 
fested so much concern when the least indisposition 


was complained of, seemed to anticipate my every 
want, was not unguarded at this time. As soon as he 
found me quiet, he closed the door and turned back 
several intruders, stating that the Doctor was feeling 
unwell, and had laid down to rest himself. In the 
course of an hour, he said, he will be through his nap, 
when he will return to the hospital, where all who de- 
sire can see him. Spangler made money by trafficking 
with the soldiers, and we are mainly indebted to him 
for something extra to the crude, unwholesome, and 
sometimes condemned Government ration that was 
issued to us. He was not generally select in his epi- 
thets toward those whom he disliked, yet if he saw 
them in suffering, it excited the liveliest sympathy, 
and he would do anything that laid in his power for 
their relief. At a later period he, in conjunction with 
Mr. Arnold, watched over me in my illness as atten- 
tively as if their own brother, and I owe my life to the 
unremitting care which they bestowed. The reader, I 
am in hopes, will excuse this little degression from the 
subject — a tribute of thanks is due, and I know no 
more fitting place to give it expression. I may perhaps 
be doing injustice by omitting another name equally 
deserving of my esteem, Michael O'Loughlin. He, 
unfortunate young man, away from his family and 
friends, by whom he was most tenderly loved, fell a 
victim to the pestilence in spite of every effort on our 
part to save him. He had passed the first stage of the 
disease and was apparently convalescent, but, contrary 
to my earnest advice, he got out of bed a short time 
after I left in the morning, and was walking about the 
room looking over some periodicals the greater part of 
the day. In the evening, about five o'clock, a sudden 
collapse of the vital powers took place, which in thirty- 
six hours after terminated his life. He seemed all at 


once conscious of his impending fate, and the first 
warning I had of his condition was his exclamation, 
"Doctor, Doctor, you must tell my mother all!" He 
called then Edward Spangler, who was present, and 
extending his hand he said, "Good-by, Ned." These 
were his last words of consciousness. He fell back 
instantly into a profound stupor and for several 
minutes seemed lifeless; but by gently changing his 
position from side to side, and the use of stimulating 
and cold applications, we succeeded in restoring him to 
partial strength and recollection. I never met with 
one more kind and forbearing, possessing a warm 
friendly disposition and a fine comprehensive intellect. 
I enjoyed greater ease in conversational intercourse 
with him than any of my prison associates. He was 
taken sick whilst my kind friend. Dr. D. W. White- 
hurst of Key West, Florida, had charge of the Post; 
from him he received prompt medical attention from 
the beginning of his illness to his death. 

The news had spread around through the garrison of 
the neat and comfortable appearance of the hospital 
and the improved condition of the sick, which had the 
effect to gain for me a reputation, and the confidence 
of the soldiers — all I could desire to insure success. It 
was not long before I discovered I could do more with 
nine cases out of ten by a few consoling and inspiring 
words, than with all the medicine known to me in the 
materia medica. 



Fort Jefiferson, Florida, December 6, 1867. 
My dear Frank : 

I wrote to you on the 24th and mailed the same on 
the 29th. I wrote to you and Jere on the 4th of De- 
cember and addressed the letter to Jere, and requested 
him to forward to you as soon as read. I did this in 
order "to kill two birds with one stone" ; that is, I 
wished to acquaint both with what has transpired here, 
and desire advice in relation. 

I mentioned in those letters the arrival of a gentle- 
man here sent by the Butler Congressional Committee 
to obtain statements in regard to the assassination. I 
gave him a declaration under oath, which in substance 
amounted to the fact that I did not know anything 
about the matter, or parties concerned, previous to the 
assassination. I sent you a copy in the letter addressed 
to Jere. If you think it worth the trouble, you can 
inquire from knowing ones whether I ought to make a 
statement of any kind in my present condition. I have 
doubts about the matter, and concluded that it was 
better to seek information from those who are better 
informed, before so doing. 

When you write inform me plainly what is the 
opinion of the public in regard to the course I should 
pursue. Congress, in my opinion, has acknowledged 
the illegality of our imprisonment and trial by asking 
and receiving an oath from us. Mention this idea to 


counsel and to members of Congress who may be fa- 
vorably disposed. He informed me that he did not 
wish his visit here known to the public, lest it might 
frustrate the purpose which the committee have in 
view. I shall leave the matter entirely to your own 
good judgment. Owing to my not making such a 
statement as he required, he or some one will be sent 
again in a short time ; therefore, I wish you to acquaint 
me at the earliest opportunity, so I may be prepared. 

I have no news. Arnold has been quite sick with 
the dysentery. He is now out of danger, but very 
thin and weak. He was sick when he gave his state- 
ment, and the labor and excitement aggravated the 
symptoms. He and Spangler made full and detailed 
statements, which in my opinion does not shed much 
light upon the subject of the assassination; nothing 
more than was known and acknowledged on our trial. 
They seem to regret having given statements, but I can 
see no objection other than an impropriety. 

My health continues very good, and I have increased 
several pounds in weight the past two or three weeks. 
I am now taking things as easy as possible, after find- 
ing all my endeavors fruitless and your promises of 
an early release mere speculation. You must not un- 
derstand from this that I cease to regard you and all 
as formerly, but having been satisfied that I have been 
laboring under a delusion, I have concluded to act on 
the principle, that what can't be helped it is useless to 
grieve about. 

A few nights ago, I dreamed I was with Tommy 
and Sammy. The emotion which it produced soon 
broke my slumber, and away fled all my happiness; 
such has been and continues to be my life, until I 
almost fear to hope. Try for the future, my good 
Frank, not to unsettle my mind with mere speculations, 


but tell me frankly and plainly the whole truth. Let 
me know all the correct news, and if anything new has 
developed in regard to the assassination. 
Your devoted husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, December 7, 1867. 
My dearest Frank : 

I received your last, dated November 7, which gave 
me much comfort. God grant your anticipation may 
prove correct. Judging from the tone of the papers, 
I fear there will be great difficulty to contend against. 
Our country seems now not to be governed by the Con- 
stitution, or by law, but by unbridled popular or public 
opinion, of which I have no doubt many others, as in 
my case, have been made victims. 

I am very well, but yet in chains, with four others, 
under guard ; and our duty now is to wash down the 
bastions of the Fort every day. I have gotten used to 
my present life, and do not feel much incommoded. 
God grant that I may soon be in the fond embrace of 
you and our dear little ones. Good-by. 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, December — , 1867. 
Major G. B. Andrews : 

I learn through my wife, by yesterday's mail, that 
the petition gotten up by the soldiers, with a view to my 
release, because of services rendered during the recent 
visitation of fever at this post, has not been received 
in Washington. 

She was made acquainted with the fact through the 
Honorable Montgomery Blair, who stands high in the 
confidence of the present Administration. Mr. Blair 
informed her that such an instrument would have great 


weight in influencing a favorable action of the Presi- 

Major, I can claim no exception to the general rule 
of nature. The drowning man catches at straws, the 
oppressed and exiled seek liberty, reunion, repose, etc. 

Were I in other circumstances, modesty would com- 
pel me to refrain from the least notoriety, but in my 
present situation, not only my personal ease and com- 
fort, but the anguish and distress of a wife and four 
helpless little children, cause me to throw off this 
humility, and solicit your kind office in my behalf. 

I refer you to the hospital report to draw conclu- 
sions as to the services rendered. "With the exception 
of the first one or two cases (who died here) all were 
carried to Sand Key Hospital, over a hundred per cent, 
of whom died. 

Upon the sickness and death of Doctor Smith, our 
lamented surgeon, I was placed in charge of the hos- 
pital by Major Stone, who vested me with discretionary 
power in all that pertains to the duties of a physician. 
Immediately I discontinued the Sand Key Hospital, I 
used blankets instead of sheets, and had the windows 
,of the hospital differently arranged. 

There were in the hospital at the time some fifteen or 
twenty cases under active treatment, many of whom 
were delirious, and burning with the most intense 
fever. In less than six hours after, under my man- 
agement, all were free from delirium, and perspiring 
freely, and seemed comfortable. All of these recov- 
ered. One afterward was taken with relapse and died. 
I considered all but one out of danger. This latter 
recovered sufficiently to walk about, but owing to negli- 
gence of the nurses, he was suffered to go out without 
my knowledge, in consequence of which he was taken 
with relapse and died. I refer you to Colonel Hamil- 


ton, who was here at the time, and to the non-com- 
missioned officers of the companies. In proof of what 
I state, I was strenuously opposed by Major Stone in 
breaking up the Sand Key Hospital. Perhaps Colonel 
Hamilton is cognizant of the matter. I succeeded 
finally with Major Stone by telling him that if he left 
the disposition of the sick to my judgment, I would 
faithfully consult the greatest good to the greatest 
number, to which he consented. 

Dr. SamuEi, a. Mudd. 

The above letter, written by my father to 
the Commandant of Fort Jefferson, was not re- 
pHed to. My father fully beheved that Major 
Andrews destroyed the petition referred to. 

Key West, December 13, 1867. 
Dr. S. A. Mudd, 

Fort Jefferson. 

Dear Sir : You will oblige me by replying to the fol- 
lowing questions : 

I St. At what time did you enter duty during the 
last epidemic at Fort Jefferson? Did you attend Dr. 
Smith and Mrs. Smith, and what others previous to 
my arrival? 

2d. What was the first case, and what time, whether 
from Havana, Key West, or regular at the Fort, and 
any other views which you may have bearing upon the 
origin, sanitary condition of the Fort, etc. ? 

The Surgeon-General desires a report upon the sub- 
ject, and I desire and wish to do you every justice 
for the patient and noble conduct evinced by you dur- 
ing my stay at Fort Jefferson. 

I would have written you at an early date, but my 


time has been much occupied, which I hope you will 
accept as my apology. 

Very truly your friend, 

D. W. Whitehurst. 

Port Jefferson, Florida, December 15, 1867. 
Dear Doctor Whitehurst : 

I received yours of the 13th asking a response to 
certain questions pertaining to the recent visitation of 
yellow fever at this Post. The boat leaving in a short 
time after, I had not time to write by the outgoing 
mail. Between now and the outgoing mail will permit 
me only to answer briefly your queries, viz : 

1st. I was detailed on duty in the hospital, Septem- 
ber 6. Dr. Smith was attacked suddenly the evening 
of the 5th. I saw him on the morning of the 7th. He 
was then delirious and unmanageable. He died on the 
morning of the 8th. Not having kept a record, have 
to refer you to the hospital report from the 6th of Sep- 
tember to the 8th, when relieved by yourself. 

2d. I am sorry to state my inability to determine 
positively the first case, or the manner of its inception. 
The first case of true yellow fever reported occurred 
on the 1 8th, and died the 22d of August. He belonged 
to Company K, and was taken sick in the quarters of 
his company, which were in the casemates on the south- 
west side of the Fort. Some two or three others, be- 
longing to .the same company, soon after were taken 
with the disease, which caused the surgeon of the Fort 
to believe that it arose from some local cause. He, 
therefore, removed the company on the eastern side of 
the Fort, immediately next Company L, and in front of 
Company I. After this change, several fresh cases 
took place, and the disease spread to the adjacent com- 
panies and prisoners. Company M was located on the 


south side of the Fort and adjoining Company L, and 
several days intervened before any cases occurred in 
that company. Most of the cases came in at night. I 
am of the opinion had Company K been removed im- 
mediately to one of the adjacent keys instead of the east 
side of the Fort, it would have prevented the spread 
of the disease. The poison being confined to that com- 
pany, the winds being continually easterly, favored the 
propagation instead of cutting short the fatal malady. 

So far as I am capable of judging, the first case 
originated here, but the poison may have been im- 
ported. Removal of the company not having checked 
the infection, on the contrary increasing, showed that 
they carried the poison with them. Captain Crabb is 
of the opinion he had the disease on his arrival here 
from Havana the last of July or first of August. Again 
about the middle of August the schooner Matchless 
from Tampa landed with two sick men aboard. I can't 
state whether it was before or after the i8th instant, 
or whether they had yellow fever. The two men were 
carried to the hospital. 

In regard to the pathology of the disease as it ex- 
isted here, although it answered minutely to the de- 
scription given by learned men, I will now proceed to 
answer your kind note, viz : I was placed in charge of 
the hospital two or three days before your arrival (not 
having kept a record, I can't state the time with cer- 
tainty). There were in the hospital at that time fif- 
een or twenty cases requiring active treatment. I 
attended these in hospital, and Dr. Smith and Mrs. 
Smith and Lieutenant Roemer until relieved by you. 
Dr. Smith was delirious and unmanageable from the 
beginning. I could by no means induce him to take 
medicine. Very truly yours. 

Dr. Samuei. a. Mudd. 



Fort Jefferson, Florida, January 15, 1868. 
My darling Frank : 

We have received papers as late as January 7, but 
fail to see any indication of my speedy release. 

I read a recent message of the President defending 
his course in turning out Stanton, and was astonished. 
He goes back to the period when he assumed the func- 
tions of a President, and omitted to charge the culprit 
or delinquent with wilfully withholding the diary of 
Booth. This seems more criminal than withholding 
the dispatch from New Orleans. His silence upon this 
point leads me to suspicion that he had a knowledge of 
all that was going on, and lent his approval to the 
cruel and barbarous wrong. It was a point which he 
should not have omitted to speak about, since every 
effort has been made to identify him with the horrible 
deed. Those who have done us a knowing wrong are 
the slowest to repair the injury or make suitable satis- 
faction ; therefore, I look with no degree of confidence 
to those who hold the ship of state to redress the 
grievances under which we suffer. 

I wrote to Mr. Stone some time ago, but have not 
received an answer. I have heard no report from the 
Butler Committee. When you write let me hear all 
that is going on, and what this committee will do with 
the statements they received from us. Would that it 
were in my power to promise you when I would be at 
home, definitely, it yet being in the unknown future. I 

304 T:HE life of dr. SAJIUEI; a. mudd 

fear to contemplate with any degree of happiness the 
time when we shall be again united in second bonds 
of wedlock, lest I should be visited by disappointment. 
Be assured, however, that time has produced no change 
in the affection which I have always manifested toward 
you and the children. Hoping to hear from you every 
opportunity, I am, darling Frank, 

Your devoted husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, March 22, 1868. 
My dearest Frank : 

I received yours of the 26th of February and March 
7 yesterday. I was much pained to hear of the acci- 
dent to McColgan Mudd, and the sickness of our dear 
little children and servants. I can well imagine the 
distress, the loneliness of your situation, and the many 
difficulties you have to contend with. It is this appre- 
ciation of your many privations, helplessness, and in- 
security that cause my principal suffering — ^mental 

I wrote to you on February 28 and March 13. I 
wrote to Jere on the 4th, and sent him some letters 
which perhaps he might use to my advantage. Faith 
and opinions are formed from known facts or certain 
evidences of the mind, and whichever way our honest 
convictions are led — be they good or evil — other vir- 
tues or vices will grow out of them. For example, if 
we are conscious of some meritorious act performed by 
a fellow-creature, our sense of love, honor, and esteem 
is immediately aroused ; on the contrary, if insincerity, 
gross deception, etc., be practiced, sentiments of anger, 
hatred, and revenge arise. We are not always cor- 
rectly informed, or we may draw erroneous conclu- 
sions; in either case it is the same. The surest pre- 
ventative is to gua,rd ourselves against such possibili- 


ties of misrepresentation. Take my advice, never in- 
cur a debt of gratitude — they are the hardest to pay. 
To avoid w^hich, accept neither presents nor favors. 
If you have debts or bills to collect, after due notice, 
give them to a constable; the parties, knowing your 
situation, will not be offended. 

Andrew ought by this time to be of some assistance 
to you. The innocent are not more exempt from a bad 
name and its consequences that the guilty. The most 
virtuous in the community are liable at any moment to 
be slandered, and they may go down to their graves 
with reproach. This is my experience and observation. 
Try and profit by it. 

With a change of commander, new regulations are 
in force, among them : all letters written and received 
are to be examined. The two last were handed to me 
open. I am restrained, in consequence of this, from 
saying many things that I wish to say. My health con- 
tinues as good as usual. 

With fondest love for you and our dear little chil- 
dren, I am. Yours, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, April 3, 1868. 
My darling Frank : 

I received yours of March 16 with Fannie's enclosed. 
Owing to the censorship that now prevails, I can't 

My health continues good. The weather is quite 
pleasant in the shade. There are a great quantity of 
ripe tomatoes, peas, beans and "collards" in the garden, 
now suitable for table use. The corn is in silk, and 
soon there will be roasting ears. This does not con- 
trast with the season with you. In the interior of the 
State it must be delightful. 

I am in hopes Andrew's sickness will not assume 


anything grave. I am growing more impatient daily 
to see you all. I have been thinking for a long time 
that the difficulties existing between the President and 
Congress are more pretended than real. In other 
words^a mutual understanding that such filibustering 
is to prevent a too sudden reaction, and perhaps dis- 
closures deemed prejudicial to the welfare of the coun- 
try at this time. 

Remember me to dear Pa, and tell him my not writ- 
ing is through no fault of mine. Thank him and all 
the family for the parental and brotherly sympathy and 
affection, and for the interest they have so kindly and 
generously manifested. 

Hoping, dearest Frank, our unhappy separation will 
soon end, and with it nothing to prevent the happiness 
we anticipate, I am, as ever. 

Your devoted husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, April 14, 1868. 
My precious Frank : 

We have received papers up to the 31st of March. 
The impeachment seems only a farce. The part which 
each is to perform is likely well understood. In the 
New York Herald of March 2 1 you will see a favorable 
allusion to myself in a letter dated from Fernandina, 
Florida. I have seen the party who wrote it on two 
occasions here, but had very little to say to him, not 
knowing his disposition toward me. 

I received at the same time a short letter, notifying 
me of this correspondence, to which I replied in a short 
note, and gave a few views of mine in relation to the 
recent visit of the yellow fever. He will likely publish 
the same ; if so, it may cause some surprise among the 
medical fraternities, as I differ widely from most of the 
authors as to many of its most essential characteristics. 


I make a distinction between the poison and the dis- 
ease, the one being contagious, the other being harm- 
less. This will revolutionize the system of quarantine 
should my views be adopted. I can bring undoubted 
facts in proof of the conclusions I have arrived at. 

We have heard nothing from Grenfel since he 
escaped on the 6th of last month. All hands may have 
perished, it being quite stormy at the time. 

If you do not receive letters as often now as 
formerly you must not complain, as the rule which pre- 
vails now is far more rigid than heretofore. I have 
written whenever it was in my power, and shall so 
continue. I think those to whom you showed my 
last letters misunderstood my meaning. I asked the 
question. What has been done? I could never see or 
hear that the President was ever approached on the 
subject, consequently concluded nothing had been done. 
I should have said nothing had been accomplished. 



Fort Jefferson, Florida, May^ii, 1868. 
My precious Frank: 

Ere this reaches you the impeachment trial will have 
ended. I wonder what will next turn up to serve as 
an excuse on the part of my friends for not taking 
action in my behalf. With the change of commanders 
things have not resulted to our advantage. Since 
Major Andrews left there have been two commanders ; 
each efifected changes which have finally deprived us 
of even former privileges, and increased our degrada- 
tion. The only privilege I possess now is the license 
to write to you, without knowing whether my letters 
leave the Post. 

Your letters are read by Provost Marshal, then 
given to a corporal to be handed to us. He can in turn 


read them to the garrison if disposed before giving 
them into our possession. The post-office at this place 
is broken up. The mihtary' have everything in their 
hands. Our mail is brought from Key West. 
Your devoted husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, May 30, 1868. 
My precious Frank : 

I have delayed writing several days. I have made 
Up my mind to pass no more letters through the Pro- 
vost Marshal's hands. From his manner toward us 
he has considerable prejudice. Such men I have met 
with before, being vengeful and unscrupulous; if 
therefore my letters don't come to hand as often as 
formerly, know that there is some good reason. He 
is expecting a furlough to go North by the next mail 
boat ; should the furlough arrive we will have a respite. 

We have seven more citizen prisoners from Alabama. 
Their offense hardly amounted to a breach of the peace. 
Their terms are one and two years. General Hill will, 
I learn, take command of this Post again in a few days. 
He is expected on the next boat. We suffered worse 
treatment under his command than any time previous 
or since; therefore, can't look with satisfaction to his 

I can't see the good reason for my friends holding 
back on account of the election. Mr. Johnson is a war 
Democrat, "or was in favor of coercion. We were 
opposed to it. I am of the opinion, though, that he is 
already pledged to the support of the Republicans. 
The impeachment will end as it was intended. There 
can now be nothing reasonable to prevent bringing the 
question of my unjust imprisonment fairly and 
squarely before his Excellency, and learn his pleasure. 


I don't see that anything can be lost, and we can have 
the gratification of knowing his mind. 



The impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson, 
President of the United States, referred to by 
my father, took place in 1868, before the 
United States Senate, Chief Justice Chase pre- 
siding. Eleven articles were exhibited by the 
House of Representatives, charging the Presi- 
dent with divers high crimes and misde- 
meanors. Thirty-five Senators pronounced 
him guilty; nineteen pronounced him not 
guilty. Two-thirds of the Senators not having 
pronounced him guilty. Chief Justice Chase 
proclaimed that the President of the United 
States stood acquitted upon the articles of im- 

Fort Jefferson, Florida, May 30, 1868. 
My dearest Frank : 

No doubt your mind has been subject to many con- 
jectures owing to my long silence. To be candid, I 
have become disgusted and embittered because of the 
rule that now governs this Post. We have now acting 
as Provost Marshal an inquisitive and officious Yankee, 
from away down in Maine. He is one of those offi- 
cious individuals fond of ruling, considering himself 
one of the elect, and adds daily new rules for the gov- 
ernment of the prisoners, which tend to be more des- 
potic than the laws of the ancient barbarians. All 
letters are carefully perused by him, not as a duty of 
his office, but because of his prying spirit and disposi- 
tion to meddle with matters that do not pertain to his 


office. I have therefore concluded never to pass 
another letter through his hands. I correspond with 
you only, and I would sooner forego this satisfaction 
than again permit him to pry into another letter, to 
gratify his mischievous curiosity. 

Surratt's trial it appears is again put off. This will 
continue to be done until he is released. The menda- 
cious scoundrels who trumped up such a mighty con- 
spiracy against him and us are too cowardly to 
acknowledge their error, and are seeking to screen 
themselves from responsibility and odium by availing 
themselves of delay, which unfortunately the law per- 
mits. I would like to know positively whether any 
action is contemplated in my case between now and the 
fall election. I am growing daily more bitter against 
tyranny and oppression. Life often feels a burden to 
me, but for the sake of you and the family I am re- 
strained. Your devoted husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, June ii, 1868. 
My darling Frank : 

We are in the midst of another warm and distressing 
summer. The atmosphere around the Fort, owing to 
the filthy condition of the moat outside, is terribly 
offensive at times and bids fair to breed another pesti- 
lence. This letter goes out by one of the seven mai 
recently sent here from Alabama. They have been 
released, and leave to-day for their homes. 

General Hill has assumed command of the Fort 
again. I have made up my mind that I will not pass 
another letter through the Provost Marshal's hands, so 
if you should not receive letters so often be not disap- 
pointed. The impeachment is over. What is to pre- 
vent action in my case? Try and give me some idea. 

Your husband, 



Fort Jefferson, Florida, June i6, 1868. 
My precious Frank : 

I wrote to you last on the nth. The Provost 
Marshal will leave on the next steamer from this place 
on a furlough. When he is gone I am in hopes I will 
be able to write you more regularly. The weather is 
growing quite warm and unpleasant. The engineers 
are digging out the breakwater, which gives rise at 
times to a most intolerable stench, often so offensive 
as to prevent sleep and our remaining in our quarters 
with any degree of comfort. 

I wish when you write you would let me know what 
is the intention of those who have my case in charge. 
Congress is still in session; they may frame this as 
an excuse for non-action. Then the election takes 
place in November — this may be another excuse, and 
so on ; but on my account I am in hopes you will urge 
the matter on immediately, and let me know the will of 
the President. It will give me but little concern either 
way, whether I meet with favor or otherwise. 

Your husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, July 5, 1868. 
My darling Frank : 

Suffering again with a terrible cold and wearied 
with the apathy and indifference of those who call 
themselves my friends, I cannot expect to impart com- 
fort or detail matter of interest; yet duty and the 
small instinct of humanity permitted to remain prompt 
me to write, and at the same time to protest against this 
outrage upon the laws and every principle of justice, in 
my incarceration — robbing you and the family of the 
solace and feeble support I might be capable of afford- 
ing. I hate to reflect upon the manner I have been ac- 
cused and brought here — the falsehoods of suborned 


perjurers, and testimony of the most infamous charac- 
ters, suffered to outweigh the evidence of men of un- 
doubted veracity. 

The last mail brought us news of the release of Sur- 
ratt upon bail, and the abandonment of the prosecution 
of the first indictment. Had this been done long ago 
it would have been more creditable to the Government 
and the parties immediately concerned. Surratt hav- 
ing been virtually released finally, I can't perceive the 
slightest justification for holding me and others. Had 
Surratt been tried when we were he would undoubtedly 
have suffered the fate of his innocent and unfortunate 
mother. Your devoted husband, 


Fort Jefiferson, Florida, August 6, 1868. 
My darling Frank : 

Knowing the great trouble and expense of sending a 
lawyer down from Maryland to take legal action in our 
case, we concluded to engage one at Key West, who 
offers to undertake all the cases of civilians here for 
one hundred dollars in hand, and one hundred dollars 
each upon release. 

I am in daily expectation of seeing the executive 
officer of the civil authority from Key West, although 
I have not the least idea how it will terminate. I have 
had no talk with any of the officers upon the subject, 
deeming it impolitic. Should I be released, I know 
not yet whether I will come home directly by sea, or by 
land by way of New Orleans. 

Your devoted husband, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, August 19, 1868. 
My precious Frank : 

The mail boat came in this morning bringing yours 
of August 3. Having to pass through the Provost 


Marshal's hands, I did not receive your letter until a 
few minutes ago. The boat will return again in an 
hour, so I have not time to tell you much. I am still 
in ignorance of what is going on. The lawyer to 
whom I wrote at Key West came here this morning on 
the boat, but I have had no chance yet to speak to him. 
He has made no attempt to my knowledge to call upon 
me, so I can't divine his object. I am sorry it is not 
in my power to make known some intelligence from 
him. The mail is gone abroad, and my hope is to send 
this per hand to Key West. The lawyer will return by 
the boat, but should I have a chance to speak to him 
before his leaving, I will endeavor to give him your 
address, so that he can inform you the course things 
are pursuing. 

Your devoted and fond husband, 


Fort Jefiferson, Florida, September 7, 1868. 
Dear Jere : 

Fearing you may not be acquainted with what has 
been done at Key West in our behalf, I send you a 
small clipping from the Key West Dispatch published 
at that place. We interpret the delay of the opinion of 
the judge as unfriendly, and that he only requires time 
to study out from the legislation of the past Congress 
a justification for his adverse decision. 

General Hill told one of our number that the writ 
would not be granted, if so, it seems that he was in Key 
West at the time action was taken by counsel — he 
either made himself acquainted with the views of those 
in the interest of the Government, or he made known 
the wish of the War Department at Washington and 
exacted observance of the same. Time has elapsed 
sufficiently for us to have heard the ruling of the judge. 
We have very little hope of a favorable decision. 


I would like to know, in case the judge refuses to 
grant the writ, whether an appeal will be taken, and if 
those representing the Government will suffer it to go 
before the Supreme Court. If they do, will it be done 
only to run me beyond the means of obtaining defense, 
or robbing me and family of every dime I might expect 
to make this side of the grave? 

Very truly yours, 


Fort Jefferson, Florida, October lo, 1868. 
My darling : 

The papers received the last mail make short men- 
tion of the proceedings in Surratt's case. It is clearly 
no interest of the Government to prosecute the man; 
and no reason therefor can be assigned, except to serve 
as an apology for the individuals who murdered his 
innocent mother. This is apparent and can not be dis- 
guised. They are like the horse in the mire — the more 
they struggle to hide their bloody deed the deeper they 
become involved. They tried him for murder and 
proved, without doubt, the innocence of his unfortu- 
nate mother. They will try him now, if they try him 
at all, for conspiracy and will prove no crime on the 
part of the son. It is a wonder the papers don't take 
up the subject of the legality of our imprisonment, 
especially since the developments made in the trial of 
Surratt. The judge at Key West was evidently in- 
structed not to grant the writ in our favor. He gave 
no law nor good reason for sustaining his refusal. 

My health is good, but I am far from being strong. 
Our fare is tolerable with what we are able to buy. 
Our sleeping quarters are the same miserable, damp 
casemates. My bed is made of moss gathered from 


the trees in Florida. It is very hard from long usage. 
I have shaved off my mustache and trimmed my goatee 
quite short, which has altered my appearance so much 
that I scarcely knew myself when I looked in the glass. 
I can perceive no wrinkles or gray hairs, although I 
believe my hair is much thinner than when I left home. 
Give my love to all and believe me, 

Your fond and devoted husband, 


Baltimore, November 15, 1868. 
My darling Sam : 

I heard from you about the 28th of October. How 
sad it makes me to know you are so gloomy. Have 
courage a while longer ; the darkest hour is just before 
day, and our lives surely will not be a continual night. 

I truly believe Johnson will release you before he 
goes out of office ; and if he does not, I have assurance 
Grant will, so for my sake bear up a while longer, and 
God will send you safely home to me and our dear little 

I have been in Baltimore nearly two weeks, and will 
remain a week longer. I went to Barnum's Hotel on 
last Thursday to see a Mr. Kerr, who was on his way 
to the Tortugas as commander. We mistook the 
name, and failed to see him. I was very sorry, I think 
I might have influenced him in his treatment to you. 
Jere saw his father. He says he found him a fine old 
gentleman. He told him his son was a good boy. I 
hope he will show his goodness in his treatment of you. 
Don't let an opportunity pass without writing, I am 
now uneasy about you. 

Your devoted wife. 



Fort Jefferson, Florida, December 4, 1868. 
General B. H. Hill, 

Commanding Post. 
Sir : The boarding up in front of our quarters and 
otherwise rendering our imprisonment more painful 
and odious, leads us to believe was the result of secret 
information which you deerned reliable. We very re- 
spectfully ask an investigation in order that the truth 
be made known. If we are to be held responsible for 
every rumor or falsehood that may be trumped up by 
the evil disposed, we are liable at any moment to be 
called out and shot. I have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

Samuel A. Mudd. 

No answer was made by General Hill to the 
above note. 

Fort Jefferson, Florida, January 24, 1869. 
My darling Frank: 

To-day I received yours of January ist, announcing 
the death of our mother, and a greater mother to our 
little children, thereby bringing us under a double debt 
of parental affection and love. Can I forgive those 
who have so inhumanly and maliciously caused our 
separation, and deprived me of affording all the conso- 
lation in my power — a debt of love and gratitude I 
owe — to the kindest and most loving of mothers? 
May the chastisement of Heaven fall upon and crush 
them to a sense of their wrong. 

I am well, but feel low and dejected in spirit. Tears 
trickle at every thought of the death of my mother. 
Her holy and precious life is my only consolation ; for 
I know she is now reaping the reward of her many 


virtues, freed from the pains and anxieties of this mis- 
erable world. God grant we may terminate life with 
such hopes of the promises of eternal reward. Do not 
doubt the love I bear you and the children. It is all 
that has kept me alive. Hoping to see you soon, I am. 
Your fond and devoted husband, 


Charles County, Md., January 30, 1869. 
My darling Sam : 

Your letter of January 8th I received on last 
Wednesday, the first for a long time. When I last 
wrote I was hoping that it would be the last letter I 
would write to you on that miserable island, but I now 
feel very, very hopeful that this will be my last. Every 
body seems to think that Johnson will release you, 
beyond a doubt, before his term of office expires ; and 
for myself I can't see how he can possibly get out of it, 
after all the petitions and appeals which have been made 
in your behalf. I feel very sanguine of seeing you 
before the last of March. Should you be released, of 
which there is but little doubt, you must hurry home, 
for I assure you you are sadly needed. 

I will send you a paper with the last petition from 
the Maryland members of Congress, and Mr. Merrick's 
and Mr. Stone's appeals in your behalf. You can 
judge for yourself your chance, but I hope, before this 
and the paper reach you, Mr. Johnson will have issued 
an order for your release. May our Lord protect us 
from another disappointment, for I am really in no 
disposition to bear it. I put you under the protection 
of our blessed Lord. I think He will bring you home 
to me. Your devoted wife, 


th:^ pardon — HOME COMING — spangi^Er's statb- 


War Department, Adjutant-General's office, 

Washington, February 13, 1869. 
Commanding Officer, 
Fort Jefferson, 

Dry Tortugas, Fla. 
Sir : The Secretary of War directs that immediately 
on receipt of the ofificial pardon, just issued by the 
President of the United States, in favor of Dr. Samuel 
A. Mudd, a prisoner now confined at Dry Tortugas, 
you release the said prisoner from confinement and 
permit him to go at large where he will. 

You will please report the execution of this order 
and the date of departure of Dr. Mudd from the Dry 

I am, sir, very respectfully your obdt. servant, 

Assistant Adjutant-General. 

Headquarters, Fort Jefferson, Fla., 

March 8, 1869. 
Special Order No. 42 : 

In obedience to communication from War Depart- 
ment A. G. Office, Washington, D. C, dated February 
13, 1869, Dr. Samuel A. Mudd (a prisoner) is hereby 
released from confinement and permitted to go at large 
where he will. 

By order Brevt. Major General Hunt. 

J. M. Lancaster, 
Brevt. Capt. U. S. A., ist Lieut. 3d Artillery, Adjutant. 


In pursuance of the above orders my father 
regained his liberty on the 8th day of March, 
1869, having endured imprisonment for a 
period of four years, lacking about six weeks. 
Two days prior to the issue of the above order 
from the War Department, on the 13th of 
February, President Johnson wrote a note to 
my mother and sent it to her home by a special 
messenger, requesting her to come to Wash- 
ington and receive my father's pardon. She 
left for Washington immediately, but being 
detained on the way, did not reach the city till 
the following morning. Once there, she re- 
paired, in company with Dr. J. H. Blandford, 
my father's brother-in-law, to the White 
House. In a few moments President Johnson 
sent for my mother to come into the executive 
office. There he delivered to her the papers 
for the release of my father. My mother asked 
him if the papers would go safely through the 
mails. His reply, before he had signed the 
papers, was : "Mrs. Mudd, I will put the Presi- 
dent's seal on them. I have complied with my 
promise to release your husband before I left 
the White House. I no longer hold myself re- 
sponsible. Should these papers go amiss you 
may never hear from them again, as they may 
be put away in some pigeon-hole or corner. I 
guess, Mrs. Mudd, you think this is tardy jus- 
tice in carrying out my promise made to you 
two years ago. The situation was such, how- 
ever, that I could not act as I wanted to do." 

After he had signed and sealed the papers. 


he handed them to my mother, who took them, 
thanked him and left. She had intended going 
to the Dry Tortugas and deUvering in person 
the release to her long-afHicted husband. 
This, however, she was not permitted to do, as 
when she reached Baltimore, intending to take 
the steamer from that port for the Dry Tor- 
tugas, she found that the boat had departed a 
few hours before her arrival, and that another 
would not sail for two or three weeks. She 
therefore sent the papers by express to her 
brother in New Orleans, Thomas O. Dyer, 
who paid a Mr. Loutrel three hundred dollars 
to deliver them to my father at Fort Jeffer- 

On the 20th day of March, 1869, sixteen days 
after President Johnson's term of office had ex- 
pired, my father arrived home, frail, weak and 
sick, never again to be strong during the thir- 
teen years he survived. It is needless for me 
to try to picture the feelings and incidents of 
his home-coming. Pleasure and pain were 
intermingled — pleasure to him to be once more 
in his old home surrounded by his loved ones, 
and pleasure to them to have him back once 
more; pain to. them to see him so broken in 
health and strength, and pain to him to find his 
savings all gone and his family almost desti- 

Again we find him, after a brief period for 
rest, engaged in the struggle to regain in a 
measure his lost means and position. This he 
never accomplished. He found himself sur- 


rounded by exacting duties, yet handicapped 
by innumerable disadvantages. There were 
no laborers to cultivate the farm; the fences 
had fallen down or been destroyed by the Fed- 
eral soldiery, and the fields were unprotected 
against intrusive cattle; buildings were out 
of repair, and money almost unobtainable. 
His hardships in prison, however, had in a 
measure taught him to be patient. Gradually 
things became brighter. When the warm 
glow of summer passed into harvest time, he 
was encouraged by the fact that a generous 
yield of earth's products rewarded him for his 
labor. He only partially regained his practice. 
While he was confined in prison many of the 
families he had attended employed other phy- 
sicians. Many of these families sought my 
father's services on his return, but some did 
not. Apart from this, the people of the neigh- 
borhood had become comparatively poor by 
reason of their losses occasioned by the war. 
A great deal of his attention and skill was 
therefore given gratuitously. 

During the four years they were together 
in prison Edward Spangler became very 
much attached to my father. As a con- 
sequence, a short time after Spangler's release, 
he came to our home early one morning, and 
his greeting to my mother, after my father had 
introduced him, was: "Mrs. Mudd, I came 
down last night, and asked some one to tell me 
the way here. I followed the road, but when I 


arrived I was afraid of your dogs, and I roosted 
in a tree." He had come to stay. 

He occupied himself chiefly in helping our 
old gardener, Mr. Best, and in doing small 
jobs of carpenter's work in the neighborhood. 
My father gave him five acres of land in a wood 
containing a bubbling spring, about five hun- 
dred yards from our dwelling. Here Spangler 
contemplated erecting a building and estab- 
lishing for himself a home. This purpose, 
however, was never to be realized. About 
eighteen months after he came he contracted 
a severe illness, the result of having been 
caught in a heavy rain, which thoroughly 
saturated his clothing. His sickness resulted 
in his death — rheumatism of the heart being 
the immediate cause. 

He was a quiet, genial man, greatly re- 
spected by the members of our family and the 
people of the neighborhood. His greatest 
pleasure seemed to be found in extending kind- 
nesses to others, and particularly to children, 
of whom he was very fond. Not long after his 
death my father, in searching for a tool in 
Spangler's tool chest, found a manuscript, in 
Spangler's own handwriting, and presumably 
written while he was in prison. This manu- 
script contained Spangler's statement of his 
connection with the great "conspiracy." 

spangler's statement. 

I was born in York County, Pennsylvania, and am 
about forty-three years of age, I am a house car- 


penter by trade, and became acquainted with J. Wilkes 
Booth when a boy. I worked for his father in building 
a cottage in Harford County, Maryland, in 1854. 
Since A. D. 1853, ^ have done carpenter work for the 
different theaters in the cities of Baltimore and Wash- 
ington, to wit: The Holiday Street Theater and the 
Front Street Theater of Baltimore, and Ford's Theater 
in the City of Washington. I have acted also as scene 
shifter in all the above named theaters, and had a 
favorable opportunity to become acquainted with the 
different actors. I have acted as scene shifter in 
Ford's Theater, ever since it was first opened up, to the 
night of the assassination of President Lincoln. Dur- 
ing the winter of A. D. 1862 and 1863, J. Wilkes 
Booth played a star engagement at Ford's Theater for 
two weeks. At that time I saw him and conversed 
with him quite frequently. After completing his en- 
gagement he left Washington and I did not see him 
again until the winters of A. D. 1864 and 1865. I then 
saw him at various times in and about Ford's Theater. 
Booth had free access to the theater at all times, and 
made himself very familiar with all persons connected 
with it. He had a stable in the rear of the theater 
where he kept his horses. A boy, Joseph Burroughs, 
commonly called "Peanut John," took care of them 
whenever Booth was absent from the city. I looked 
after his horses, which I did at his request, and saw that 
they were properly cared for. Booth promised to pay 
me for my trouble, but he never did. I frequently had 
the horses exercised, during Booth's absence from the 
city, by "Peanut John," walking them up and down 
the alley. "Peanut John" kept the key to the stable in 
the theater, hanging upon a nail behind the small door, 
which opened into the alley at the rear of the theater. 
Booth usually rode out on horseback every afternoon 
and evening, but seldom remained out later than eight 


or nine o'clock. He always went and returned alone. 
I never knew of his riding out on horseback and stay- 
ing out all night, or of any person coming to the stable 
with him, or calling there for him. He had two horses 
at the stable, only a short time. He brought them 
there some time in the month of December. A man 
called George and myself repaired and fixed the stable 
for him. I usually saddled the horse for him when 
"Peanut John" was absent. About the first of March 
Booth brought another horse and a buggy and harness 
to the stable, but in what manner I do not know ; after 
that he used to ride out with his horse and buggy, and 
I frequently harnessed them up for him. I never saw 
any person ride out with him or return with him from 
these rides. 

On the Monday evening previous to the assassina- 
tion, Booth requested me to sell the horse, harness, and 
buggy, as he said he should leave the city soon. I 
took them the next morning to the horse market, and 
had them put up at auction, with the instruction not to 
sell unless they would net two hundred and sixty dol- 
lars; this was in accordance with Booth's orders to 
me. As no person bid sufficient to make them net that 
amount, they were not sold, and I took them back to 
the stable. I informed Booth of the result that same 
evening in front of the theater. He replied that he 
must then try and have them sold at private sale, and 
asked me if I would help him. I replied, "Yes." This 
was about six o'clock in the evening, and the conversa- 
tion took place in the presence of John F. Sleichman 
and others. The next day I sold them for two hun- 
dred and sixty dollars. The purchaser accompanied 
me to the theater. Booth was not in, and the money 
was paid to James J. Gifford, who receipted for it. I 
did not see Booth to speak to him, after the sale, until 
the evening of the assassination. 


Upon the afternoon of April 14 I was told by 
"Peanut John" that the President and General Grant 
were coming to the theater that night, and that I must 
take out the partition in the President's box. It was 
my business to do all such work. I was assisted in 
doing it by Rittespaugh and "Peanut John." 

In the evening, between five and six o'clock, Booth 
came into the theater and asked me for a halter. I was 
very busy at work at the time on the stage preparatory 
to the evening performance, and Rittespaugh went up- 
stairs and brought one down. I went out to the stable 
with Booth and put the halter upon the horse. I com- 
menced to take off the saddle when Booth said, 
"Never mind, I do not want it off, but let it and the 
bridle remain." He afterward took the saddle off 
himself, locked the stable, and went back to the 

Booth, Maddox, "Peanut John," and myself imme- 
diately went out of the theater to the adjoining restau- 
rant next door, and took a drink at Booth's expense. 
I then went immediately back to the theatre, and Ritte- 
spaugh and myself went to supper. I did not see 
Booth again until between nine and ten o'clock. 
About that time Deboney called to me, and said Booth 
wanted me to hold his horse as soon as I could be 
spared. I went to the back door and Booth was stand- 
ing in the alley holding a horse by the bridle rein, and 
requested me to hold it. I took the rein, but told him 
I could not remain, as Gifford was gone, and that all of 
the responsibility rested on me. Booth then passed 
into the theater. I called to Deboney to send "Peanut 
John" to hold the horse. He came, and took the 
horse, and I went back to my proper place. 

In about a half hour afterward I heard a shot fired, 
and immediately saw a man run across the stage. I 
saw him as he passed by the center door of the scenery, 


behind which I then stood ; this door is usually termed 
the center chamber door. I did not recognize the man 
as he crossed the stage as being Booth. I then heard 
some one say that the President was shot. Immedi- 
ately all was confusion. I shoved the scenes back as 
quickly as possible in order to clear the stage, as many 
were rushing upon it. I was very much frightened, 
as I heard persons halloo, "Burn the theater !" I did 
not see Booth pass out; my situation was such that I 
could not see any person pass out of the back door. 
The back door has a spring attached to it, and would 
not shut of its own accord. I usually slept in the 
theater, but I did not upon the night of the assassina- 
tion ; I was fearful the theater would be burned, and 
I slept in a carpenter's shop adjoining. 

I never heard Booth express himself in favor of the 
rebellion, or opposed to the Government, or converse 
upon political subjects; and I have no recollection of 
his mentioning the name of President Lincoln in any 
connection whatever. I know nothing of the mortise 
hole said to be in the wall behind the door of the Presi- 
dent's box, or of any wooden bar to fasten or hold the 
door being there, or of the lock being out of order. I 
did not notice any hole in the door. Gififord usually 
attended to the carpentering in the front part of the 
theater, while I did the work about the stage. Mr. 
Gifford was the boss carpenter, and I was under him. 

My father died from pneumonia, January 10, 
1883, after an illness of nine days. He con- 
tracted the disease while visiting the sick in 
the neighborhood in the nighttime and in in- 
clement weather. He was buried in Saint 
Mary's cemetery, attached to the Bryantown 
church, where he had first met Booth. He 
was in the fiftieth year of his age at the time 
of his death.