06-03-1881: George Alfred Townsend's 1st Interview of Dr. George Mudd.
Source: The Cleveland Leader, June 3, 1881.
Note: there are three obvious errors in Townsend's article: 1 - Townsend's headline mistakenly says it was Dr. George Mudd who set Booth's leg. 2 - Townsend mistakenly refers to George Mudd as George F. Mudd, not George D. Mudd. 3 - Townsend mistakenly refers to Dr. Samuel Mudd as Samuel R. Mudd, not Samuel A. Mudd.
A Talk With the Man who Set Wilkes Booth's Broken Leg
G.A. Townsend in New York Tribune
While I was ordering dinner in the little bar of the White Tavern at Bryantown, Md., some time ago, a gentleman drove up in a buggy who had a strong body and countenance. He was clad in grayish clothes, with a broad-brimmed, soft black hat, and his jaws were long, the lines of his face expressive of will and character, and his eyes were generally half-closed, though in them you could see that he had a searching observation. He was bearded about the chin and had a strong pair of shoulders.
Although he had a Virginia body under the Maryland head. I addressed him, and at first he was a little guarded, but in a few minutes he dismissed hesitancy and spoke freely on the greatest subject which ever came within the range of his family or his neighborhood. This was Dr. George F. Mudd, the cousin of Dr. Samuel R. Mudd, the celebrated accomplice of Booth. He is a Republican, and, I was told by the neighbors, holds the very highest position in all that region, and has the largest medical practice. There are four doctors at Bryantown and vicinity, and it is, though a pity place in itself, the center of the best families probably in Charles county.
The following is a memorandum I made on Dr. Mudd's remarks:
“Wilkes Booth,” he said, “was known here during the five or six months previous to the assassination. According to the best of our knowledge he came here first from Washington City, riding out on horseback, and went to the house of Dr. Queen, four or five miles below Bryantown; he brought a letter of introduction from Canada. The people hereabouts knew who he was - rather an unusual profession and kind of man to be among us here. Dr. Samuel R. Mudd had been a medical student in my office; he would be one of the last men to assassinate anybody, but he was a bitter man in the war, and that sullen, sour feeling was not uncommon among us. There is no question but that he knew Booth some time before the tragedy, and was in the plan to abduct the President. Nor is there any doubt but that Booth had long selected this country as the region through which he meant to operate. He had studied these roads, and several of the parties he picked up in this part of the country as accessories had no other knowledge than that of the roads and how to get in and out. In that way perhaps he picked up Surratt, Atzerodt, and Herold. When he came out from Washington the night of the murder he came on the direct road to Bryantown, until at some distance to the northwest of us he struck the road leading across the swamp to Dr. Mudd's house. There he arrived in the morning and stayed all day and took the next night to go to the Potomac. That is why so few persons saw him. I think his plan was to ride by night and hide by day; that required, of course, a good previous knowledge of the country. The night he left Dr. Mudd's he came due south, passing by a road two or three miles east of this and between here and Hughesville, till he came to another road running off somewhat easterly; by that he got down to Cox's place. Mr. Cox died a year or so ago. I saw him in custody in the second story of this hotel with handcuffs on his hands. The only person who saw Booth that night that has spoken was a negro who directed him to Cox's house. Our supposition has been here that Booth crossed immediately into Virginia, but the contrary opinion prevails. If he could get across the river there was not much necessity for his staying on this side, which was soon overrun by troops.”