04-28-1865: Electus Thomas' Interrogation about Dr. Samuel Mudd and John Wilkes Booth.
Source: National Archives Microfilm M-599.
Dr. Mudd, his farmhands Frank Washington and Thomas Davis, and his father's farmhand Electus (aka Alexis) Thomas, were arrested on April 24th, and brought to Washington's Old Carroll Prison. Following is a Statement by Thomas on April 21, 1865, followed by a Question and Answer interrogation of Thomas on April 28th.
Bryantown, Md. April 21, 1865
Electus Thomas, colored, living with Henry L. Mudd three miles from Bryantown, Md., being duly sworn, deposes, and says:
On Saturday last, April 15th, somewhere in the afternoon, and I think between three and four o'clock, while I was at work at home, a young man came along. He was a clean-made, neat built man, about 5 1/2 feet tall, neatly dressed in some sort of cassimere clothes. He rode a bright bay horse, a very smart horse. He was in the road between Beantown and Bryantown coming towards Bryantown three miles from Bryantown. He was riding very fast and did not stop. In a little while - I don't think he had time to go to Bryantown - he passed me again, and went on the road towards Beantown, towards the forks in the road which are about half a mile off. I saw the same man again, as near as I could make him out about dusk the same evening on foot, he was coming from towards Beantown, and he came to me and said "Uncle, where am I at?" I told him he was at a place called Henry L. Mudd's. Then he said he was entirely lost; that he did not know where the east nor the west was, and asked me which was east and which was west. I told him as near as I could. Then he asked "Where does the sun rise and where does it set?" and I told him as near as I could get at it. Then he asked me if there was not a Doctor Sam lived about there somewhere. I told him yes and told him which way he could go to get there. Then he asked me "Who lives here?" I told him it was Henry L. Mudd. Then he asked "I wonder could I stay there tonight?" I said "I don't know. I think old Master's gone over to the doctor's." Then he said "I think I won't bother anyone tonight" and then he asked "Isn't there a large swamp near here?" I told him yes, and he asked which was the way to go to it, and I told him, pointing out the way by our tobacco-house, and told him to walk straight forward and he could not miss it.
Then he asked me how would I like to go to Bryantown; I told him I could not go at all. "Well" said he, "I will take the swamp anyhow, I won't bother anybody tonight." and he left. As he left he said "When I get to the Bryantown bridges, I know them." He then went down towards the tobacco-house, but it was so dark that I could not see him so far as the tobacco-house.
When I saw this man coming, my wife, a man named Poimet, and Lev Eckton were nearby, but they all left me before he reached me.
Carroll Prison, April 28th, 1865
Alexis Thomas (colored) examined by Col. Jno. A. Foster
I live with Henry L. Mudd; he is the father of Dr. Samuel Mudd. Henry L. Mudd's place is three miles above Bryantown, this way; I saw a man there on Saturday afternoon. I was in the garden and saw he was coming; he was mounted. He was a young man; tolerably good size; clean; smooth face. No moustache at all.
Q. Not very tall?
A. Not very tall.
Q. Mounted on a light bay?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. What did he do?
A. When I first saw him he passed up toward Bryantown; a little while after he came back which made twice I saw him. When I saw him again he came to me.
Q. Did he speak the first time?
A. He merely nodded. When he came up he said "I am entirely lost, which way is the east, the west, and the south?" I told him as nigh as I could. He asked me where the sun rose, and the sun set, and I told him as near as I could come at it. He asked me whether did not Dr. Sam live about. I told him yes, and which way to get to the doctor. A while after he asked me "Could he stay here?" I told him I did not know, but I would go and see. Then he says "I will not trouble anyone tonight. I will take the swamp for it.: He said "Is there a large swamp here?" I said yes. I told him where. I told him if he took the swamp and followed it down it would take him to Bryantown bridges. He asked me how I would like to go to Bryantown with him. I told him I would not like it at all. He then went the way I told him, or not, I cannot say; before he got out of sight, my wife had been pulling me for fear the man would injure me. As soon as he went away I went into the house.
Q. You knew the President had been killed?
A. I did not.
Q. Why were you afraid?
A, Because the people around talked of the man who killed Mr. Watkins.
Q. Did the man come back again?
A. This was the last I saw of him.