04-21-1865: Dr. Samuel Mudd's First Statement About John Wilkes Booth's Visit.
Source: Investigation And Trial Papers Relating To The Assassination Of President Lincoln, 1865. (NARA microfilm publication M-599). National Archives, Washington, D.C. The statement was written on April 21st.
Dr. Mudd wrote this 1st statement for Colonel Henry Wells on April 21st. It does not include information Dr. Mudd subsequently provided about Booth in his 2nd signed and notarized statement dated April 22nd.
I reside in Charles Co., Maryland, near Bryantown, about 25 miles from Washington. My house is, I suppose, between 18 & 20 miles from the nearest port on the Potomac River; and about from 60 to 70 miles from the west shore of the Chesapeake. I am a physician by profession, and have been practicing some 9 years, having graduated in 1856, in Baltimore.
I first heard of the assassination of President Lincoln on Saturday afternoon (April 15) about two or three o’clock in the afternoon.
There are two or three physicians beside myself living in that immediate neighborhood. The village in which I live is a very small one, having only some 8 or 10 houses in it.
About 4 o’clock on Saturday morning, the 15th, two persons came to my house, and commenced rapping very loudly at the door. I was very much alarmed at this; fearing it might be somebody who had come there not for any good purpose, and hesitated at first about going down. On their knocking very heavily the second time I aroused my wife, and we conferred with one another a moment as to who should go to the door. She thought she had better go as it might be someone who came there with evil intent. Knowing her nervous nature, however, I deemed it would be better for me to go. I, therefore, concluded to do so. Before opening the door, however, I inquired who was there. They told me two strangers from St. Mary’s Co. who were on their way to Washington; but that the horse of one of them had fallen, and broken the riders leg. Satisfying myself of the correctness of the statement of one of them having received an injury, by going to a window & seeing one of them in distress, I went and opened the door.
I took them into the parlor, and laid the injured man on the sofa, until I could get a light, when I took him upstairs. His friend urged me to attend his leg as soon as possible, as they were very anxious to get to Washington; and, then, it is my impression, he inquired if they could not reach some point on the Potomac, where they could get a boat to Washington.
I examined the injured leg, but did not give it a very thorough examination owing to the parties wanting it attended to in such haste. My examination was sufficiently thorough, however, to enable me to discover that there was one bone broken about two inches above the ankle joint; what we call a “direct fracture”. In setting the limb, having no splinters, or anything of that sort at hand, I was compelled to cut up an old band-box and use it. I do not remember of their having assigned any reason for their great haste other than that they had made an early start, and were anxious to get to Washington as soon as possible.
As regards the personal appearance of these men, one was a very small one. I should call him a well grown boy. He looked to be about 17 or 18 - to be a boy who had never yet shaved. The other was a man of medium size, with black hair. He had whiskers and also a mustache.
A photograph of Booth was afterwards shown me by a detective, but I did not observe any resemblance between the two men, though I must say that I have very often been shown likeness of intimate friends, and failed to recognize them by their pictures. The last man I have described had a black streak down the side of his face.
These men remained at my house until about between 4 & 5 o’clock in the afternoon. I never saw either of the parties before, nor can I conceive who sent them to my house. They themselves gave me no intimation on the subject.
The man whose leg was broken had on a dark suit, but I cannot tell whether he had on pants, coat, & vest of the same material and color, or not. The injured man had very little to say. He had a heavy shawl, which he kept around him; & he seemed to be laboring under considerable nervousness, or pain.
I was at home pretty much all day, and was in the room where they were at short intervals. The reason I took them upstairs was because I had no room downstairs. Including the entry recently built between the house and the kitchen, and the kitchen itself, there are five rooms on the lower floor. There is only one bedroom, however, on the lower floor, which is occupied by myself and wife.
I had very little conversation with these men during the day, though one (the small one) seemed to be quite communicative, and well acquainted throughout the whole neighborhood. Nothing was said by them leading me to infer that they had been engaged in any such deed as this assassination.
The small one also had on a dark suit, with black hair.
After the injured man had got off his horse, the other asked me if I could not have the two horses stabled, as one of them would not suffer himself to be hitched. I went after the boy, and he held them until the boy came.
I did not see the parties when they left in the afternoon. The smaller said he would not need anyone to assist him in putting the injured man on the horse as he had before put him on the horse, at the time he broke his leg; so I did not go out.
My family at this time consisted of my wife, four children, a widow lady, and a sister-in-law. There are three working hands on the place - two white, one colored. I think my wife saw them for a short time after dinner, when she went up to know whether they would have anything more, or desired any particular diet. I do not think any others of the family saw them.
They requested me to have a pair of crutches made after I set the leg. When I got two arm-pieces and whittled them as best I could. I afterwards gave them to the old man who works on the farm to put a stick in.
They paid me $25 for my services, which they rather pressed me to accept; I told them a small fee would answer.
Before they left they inquired the way to the Rev. Mr. Wilmer’s, an acquaintance of mine, who resides not far from Beantown. His house is about five miles from mine round the road, and about 4 directly across. I think they took the road across as they inquired for the nearest road. He is regarded by the neighbors as a Union man. I have always called myself a Union man, though I have never voted with the administration party. I have never heard any expression from my neighbors as to what they thought of me in that respect.
I do not think any of my neighbors saw these men at my house. I think I first communicated the fact of these men stopping at my house under these circumstances to Mr. John F. Hardy, and Francis Ferrell. It was on Saturday evening when I did so if my memory serves me right.
This injured man had boots on, but whether he had spurs on or not, I disremember. I had to cut the boot from the injured limb. This boot he left, and it is now in possession of the military authorities.
The names given these parties were - the young man Henson, and the other Tyson or Tyser. There are some Hanson’s down in our neighborhood who are vulgarly called Henson.
I only saw one of these horses. That one was a small bay mare, with a natural tail as far as I could observe. I did not notice any white scars or spots about him. This horse was a very lively one.
The older of these two men I should judge to be 30 or 35 years of age.
I first heard of the assassination of President Lincoln at Bryantown.
The injured man after having his leg set seemed to suffer a good-deal of pain, and said he did not think he would be able to travel on horseback, and desired to get a carriage, buggy or something of the sort that he might be enabled to continue his journey. I told him I had nothing of the sort, but that perhaps, he might get an old carriage from my father, and that as I was going to ride out that afternoon, the young man might go over there with me, and see if he could do so. After dinner, the young man ordered the bay mare, and then we rode over to my father’s together. We found my father out, but saw my brother, who was getting his horse ready to go to the Post Office, or church. I asked him if he could lend a carriage? He said the carriage he had was old, & very much out of repair, and unfit to travel in any distance. While I was holding this conversation with my brother this young man stood just behind a horse, in front of the shed where I was engaged in talking.
My brother not being willing to take the responsibility of lending this carriage, the young man said he would go to Bryantown, and endeavor to get a conveyance there. He started off at a pretty fair gallop and I after him. He soon got a good distance ahead of me as his horse was quite a sprightly one, while mine was a very dull one. When he had got about a mile and a half beyond my father’s house, he abruptly turned round and came back, meeting me as he did so. He seemed to be engaged in deep thought. As he passed me he observed, “I believe I will get my friend to go to the Rev. Mr. Wilmer’s on horseback.” He, therefore, did not go to Bryantown - at least with me. My object in going there was to purchase some articles, which were needed by the family; and I thought I would at the same time see about some nails that were intended for immediate use. I purchased at Mr. Bean’s some calico & some pepper, for which I paid him. I got back to the house between 4 & 5 o’clock. The two men were just getting ready to start when I got back. It was about 12 o’clock when we had dinner. One of the men, the young one, ate dinner with me. The other one had his dinner sent to him.
I was not where I could see these men mount their horses at the time of their departure. I was down at a point on my place below the swamp. In describing the way to Mr. Wilmer’s, I told them that in going across this swamp there would be but one fence to pull down between that place and the barn, upon arriving at which they would get into the road, which would lead them to the place where they desired to go.
No suspicion was aroused in my mind of anything being wrong with regard to these men. After I had heard of the assassination, and began to have suspicion as to these two men being in some way connected with it, a little circumstance occurred to me as confirmatory of such suspicions which I had not thought of before. It was this: After breakfast the older one asked for a razor and some soap; which he got; and my giving him the crutches which I had prepared, a short time afterward, I noticed that his mustache had disappeared.
The pantaloons of this man were covered with mud in many places, and the appearance of his clothes would in other respects indicate that he had been riding very rapidly.
I mentioned my suspicion of these men, and the circumstance of the mustache being removed, the next morning to a brother physician, a relative of mine, Dr. Geo. Mudd and I think also to Mr. Wm. Mudd and Mr. T. L. Gardiner.
The injured man had a belt with two revolvers in it concealed under his clothing, which I discovered when he got into bed after having his wound dressed. I did not discover whether the other one was armed or not.