04-29-1865: Edwin Stanton's Order about Treatment of Dr. Samuel Mudd and Other Prisoners.
Source: Edwin M. Stanton Papers, Library of Congress.
Dr. Mudd was still being held at the Old Capitol Prison, mainly as a witness, when Secretary of War Edwin Stanton issued this order on April 29th. Note that Dr. Mudd is not included among those Stanton is ordering transferred to the Arsenal military prison to stand trial. This changed four days later, May 4th, when Louis Weichmann told Stanton of Dr. Mudd's meeting with Booth in Washington. Stanton immediately ordered Dr. Mudd transferred to the Arsenal.
April 29th, 1865
You are directed to take charge of the prisoners who are supposed to have been engaged in the murder of the President and the attempted assassination of Mr. Seward, and now on board of the two iron-clads at the Navy Yard - to wit Herold, Spangler, Payne, O'Laughlin, Atzerodt, Arnold, and Celestina; also of Mrs. Surratt, who is in the Old Capitol Prison; and to confine them securely in the military prison within the grounds of the U.S. Arsenal, until their trial and the execution of any sentence that may be passed upon them. You will appoint a competent General officer to have the charge of the prison, as Governor, and make such other arrangements and details for the secure detention of such prisoners as circumstances may require. The following particulars you will observe:
1st - That no person whomsoever shall have access to said prisoners, or hold any communication with them, unless authorized by a permit under my personal signature, save only the Governor and the medical officer that may be assigned for medical and inspection duty.
2nd - The Governor will make personal inspection of each prisoner, and of his cell, at least twice in twenty-four hours, and you will direct such other inspections as in your judgement may be proper.
3rd - A medical officer will be assigned, to make an inspection, along with the Governor, twice in twenty-four hours - this inspection to be made in the presence of the Governor, and at the time he makes his inspection.
4th The prisoners are to be supplied with nothing but necessary food and water during their imprisonment, unless by my special order, and the Governor will be responsible for preventing any knives, spoons, or other articles from going into the possession of any prisoner, wherewith he may attempt to escape, or take his own life or injure his person. Too great care on this point cannot be observed. The food and water will be supplied in quantities and hours as may be directed by the medical inspecting officer.
5th - The details of sentinels inside and outside of the military prison are left entirely to your discretion, with nothing more than the injunction that every precaution be used to prevent the sentinels from being tampered with, or any unauthorized communication being had, verbally or in writing, with the prisoners.
6th - You will remove the prisoners from the iron-clads at such time this evening, after eight o'clock, as the cells may be prepared to receive them.
7th - You are requested to make, yourself, a personal inspection of the prison at least once in twenty-four hours, and to submit an official report thereof to this Department, requiring such stated reports from your subordinates as you may deem necessary.
8th - Colonel Baker will be assigned to assist in the removal of the prisoners from the iron-clads to the military prison. I have also directed him to detail four detectives, not in the military service, who will in turn be on duty inside of the prison, having regular reliefs, but not authorized to hold any communication with the prisoners or with the sentinels on duty.
9th - Generally, you are authorized and directed to adopt any other and further measures that may be necessary to prevent the escape of the prisoners alive, or their cheating the gallows by self destruction.
10th - The same instructions will be observed in reference to other accomplices in the murder of the President and the attempted assassination of Mr. Seward, that may from time to time be turned over to the Governor of the Military Prison for safe keeping.
Your obedient servant,
Edwin M. Stanton
Secretary of War
Major Genl. W.S. Hancock
Comdg. Middle Military Division