01-29-1869: William Keeler’s Letter to B.C. Cook.
Source: Samuel A. Mudd Pardon File B-596, RG 204, U.S. National Archives, College Park, Maryland.
William Keeler was the Navy Paymaster on the U.S.S. Florida when Dr. Mudd was taken to Fort Jefferson aboard that ship. In 1869, when Keeler read in the newspaper that Dr. Mudd was being considered for a pardon, he wrote the following letter to his Congressman:
La Salle, Ill.
Jany 21, 1869
Hon. B.C. Cook
I learned by yesterday’s Chicago Tribune that efforts are being made to procure the pardon of Dr. Mudd. The U.S. Steamer Florida, to which I was attached conveyed him and his associates from Hampton Roads to the Tortugas. In conversation with myself, & I think with others on our passage down he admitted what I believe the prosecution failed to prove at his trial - viz - that he knew who Booth was when he set his leg & of what crime he was guilty. I have thought it might be well to have these facts known if they are not.
Very truly yours