04-13-1868: Lizzie Smith’s Letter to President Johnson.
Source: Samuel A. Mudd Pardon File B-596, RG 204, U.S. National Archives, College Park, Md.
Many letters were written to President Johnson asking him to pardon Dr. Mudd for his work during the 1867 yellow fever epidemic at Fort Jefferson. This letter was written by the widow of Dr. Joseph Sim Smith, Fort Jefferson’s physician, and one of the first casualties of the epidemic. When Dr. Smith died, Dr. Mudd stepped in and began ministering to the sick and dying. Smith’s wife and son also contracted yellow fever. His son died, but his wife survived to write this letter.
To His Excellency Andrew Johnson
President of the United States
I have the honor to address a few words to you in behalf of Dr. Mudd, prisoner at Ft. Jefferson, Dry Tortugas Florida.
Feelings of deep gratitude to him for his great kindness and attention to my late husband and only son, both of whom were victims to the yellow fever which raged so fearfully at the Fort last September, and also to me during my illness with the same disease prompts me to address a petition to you for his pardon and release.
He did not spare himself during the prevalence of the epidemic and absence of other medical aid, as was sometimes the case, especially during the illness of my husband and myself but was ready and anxious to render any assistance in his power to the sufferers. And to the last of my child’s life, he was near him trying to relieve his dreadful suffering.
I shall ever remember his kindness in that trying time, and beg of you, if it is possible, to grant his pardon and allow him to return to his family in Maryland. He surely deserves some return for his services, and he has suffered enough in prison and hospital to atone for any wrong he may have done during the late war. Hoping this liberty may be pardoned, and the request granted,
Your Obedient Servant
Lizzie C. Smith
Widow of late Brvt. Major & Asst. Surgeon
Jos. Sim Smith U.S. Army
April 13th, 1868
159 Putnam Avenue