05-02-1865: Report of Lieutenant Lovett about Dr. Samuel Mudd and John Wilkes Booth.
Source: U.S. National Archives, Microfilm M-599.
Report of 1st Lieut. Alexander Lovett to Col. H.L.Burnett, J.A.
Statement of Alexander Lovett, Vet. Res. Corps
Washington, D.C., May 2nd 1865
I most respectfully make the following report of my movements in the eastern counties of Maryland. I started from Washington, D.C. on the night of April 17th, 1865 pursuant to orders of J.R. O'Beirne, Prov. Mar. of board of enrollment for the District of Columbia, in charge of nine mounted men of provisional cavalry and two Special Officers of Maj. O'Beirne's force, Simon Gavecan and William Williams. Proceeded to Robey's Post Office in Surrattsville in Prince George's County, Maryland for the purpose of arresting such parties as might be suspected of being implicated in the assassination of our late President and Sect. Seward. At Robey's I met two more Special Officers of Maj. O'Beirne's force named Joshua Lloyd and George Cottingham. Got some information that John M. Loyd of Surrattsville was an accomplice of the assassins, proceeded toward Newport, passed through T.B. on Tuesday, April 18th. Met John M. Loyd a short distance from that place returning from Allen's Fresh with his wife who he had sent to that place before the murder of the President.
I arrested Loyd and sent him back under guard to Robey's Post Office where I had established a Guard House as Prison under charge of Special Officer George Cottingham for the purpose of keeping such persons as were arrested until they could be forwarded to Washington.
We went on to Newport and from there to Bryantown, got information of two strange men being in that vicinity and that one of them had a broken leg and that a man by the name of Dr. Samuel Mudd had set it for him. I then proceeded to Dr. Mudd's farm about four and a half miles from Bryantown. He was not at home, but his wife sent for him and he came in in about a half hour. But in the meantime I questioned his wife concerning the two men who had been there. She stated that they were both strangers to her, that they came there at daybreak Saturday morning April 15th. One of them rapped at the door while the other sat on his horse. Dr. Mudd opened the door, went out and assisted the young man to help the injured one off the horse and into the house.
I asked her what kind of looking men they were. She stated that one of them was a young man, about eighteen or nineteen years of age. The other who had a broken leg was a man over thirty years. She said that when the doctor commenced to caring for the man's leg she left the room, and did not see him again until he had his leg fixed, and when she saw him again she missed a mustache that he wore on his face when he entered the house. I asked how that came and she told me that she had since learned that her husband had furnished the man a razor to shave it off, and when the man was leaving the house in the afternoon she took notice when he came to the foot of the stairs, that his chin whisker became detached and that she thought it was a false whisker.
I asked how the men got away. She stated that her husband had a pair of crutches made for the injured man, and tried to get a buggy to help him away. He went to his father's, but could not get one on account of it not being at home. He then came back and with the assistance of the young man, helped the one with the broken leg on his horse and that her husband started with them toward the swamp, and that was the last that she had seen of the strangers.
When the doctor came in, I questioned him about the two men who had stopped at his house on Saturday. He seemed to be somewhat excited and said that they were perfect strangers to him, that he had set one of their legs which had been broken by their horse falling on him, and that was all he knew about them. He was then questioned in regard to the appearance of the men and did not give much satisfaction. He stated that the injured man was heavily armed with a pair of revolvers and seemed to be very much excited.
Dr. Mudd seemed to be very much reserved and did not care to give very much information. I was then satisfied that it was Booth and Herold, and made up my mind to arrest Doctor Mudd when the proper time came. I was under the impression that Booth and Herold were in the neighborhood and that Dr. Mudd knew where they were and was secretly giving Booth medical attendance. After arranging things so that if Booth & Herold were in the neighborhood and the doctor go to them we would get the whole of them.
I started back to Robey's Post Office where I had Loyd and several other persons confined, to see what information I could obtain from Loyd or others. Loyd made a partial confession, and said that he was an accessory after the fact, and if he had thought of it in time that the President would not have been murdered, that he was drawn into the plot by a woman, and to save himself, would come out on the whole of them. I took him to his own house to see what effect it would have on him. His wife commenced to weep. Loyd himself was very much excited and wept freely. His wife prevailed on him to tell all he knew and save himself. He said he would and told me that Mrs. Surratt had been there at his house on Friday, the day of the murder of the President, and told him that a party would be along late that night and to turn over the arms to them, and give them some refreshments. They came along that night about half past twelve. He delivered over to them the arms and whiskey. I asked him who the parties were. He told me that it was Booth and Herold. I then asked him what his reason was for not immediately giving information that would lead to their arrest. He said he was afraid that some of their friends would shoot him. I asked him if he was acquainted with Booth and Herold, and if they had been at his house before. He said that he knew them and that they had been at his house frequently. I then left him in charge of Special Officer Geo. Cottingham at the Guard House at Robey's Post Office.
I procured a fresh squad of mounted men of the 16th N.Y. Cav. and returned to Dr. Samuel Mudd's farm and arrested him. When he saw that we were going to search the house he said something to his wife. She went upstairs and brought down a heavy riding boot which had been split up from the instep and turned it over to me. I examined the inner part of the bootleg and found wrote with ink the maker's name and the number of his place of business, beneath that the name J. Wilkes. I then demanded from Dr. Mudd the razor he had furnished Booth to shave off his moustache. He handed me a razor and said that was the one. He was questioned as to whether it was not Booth's leg he set. He said that it was not and that the young man Booth's companion was not Herold. He was then shown one of Booth's pictures. He said that it did not look like Booth only across the eyes. He afterwards stated that Booth had been at his house last fall and was in the neighborhood for some time, and that he was well acquainted with him. He afterwards acknowledged that he was satisfied that it was J. Wilkes Booth whose leg he set, and helped through the swamp. I proceeded with Dr. Mudd to Bryantown where I turned him and the boot over to Col. Wells.
I stayed in Maryland from the 17th to the 29th of April when I returned to Washington by order of Col. Wells and Maj. O'Beirne.
Your Obt. Servant
Judge Advocate of Military Commission